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Thursday, April 05, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 4/5/2007

Six Countries Removed from Imminent Danger Pay List
The Defense Department officially removed Bosnia-Herzegovina and five other countries from the list of countries where service members receive imminent danger pay. The other countries include Angola, Georgia, Sierra Leone, Croatia and Macedonia - often used as an entry point in and out of Kosovo, where about 1,500 service members now serve. Guardsmen and other service members deployed to Kosovo, however, will continue to receive imminent danger pay.

Rumored for some time, the changes go into effect Nov. 1. In all, 232 service members serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina will lose the pay. Of them, 43 are in Macedonia, seven in Georgia, five in Angola, one in Sierra Leone and an unknown number in Croatia.

DoD officials routinely conduct worldwide reviews to determine whether to continue imminent danger pay. Service members receive $225 per month for imminent danger pay. The pay recognizes duty in foreign areas where there is the threat of physical harm or imminent danger because of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions.

DoD put Bosnia and Macedonia on the imminent danger pay list June 22, 1992. Sierra Leone was added July 18, 1997, Angola March 1, 1998, and Georgia July 22, 2002, officials said.

An increase in hardship pay will offset some of the financial losses for service members in Macedonia, Georgia, Angola and Sierra Leone, DoD officials said. Hardship pay for Angola, Georgia and Sierra Leone will increase from $100 to $150 a month. In Macedonia, the pay will be $100 a month.

Guard Recruiting Assistants Cash in on Payouts
The Associated Press (AP) reported this morning that Sgt. Dana Kline, a member of the Georgia Army National Guard, took the Guard Recruiting and Assistance Program (G-RAP) to a level probably unexpected when the program began nearly two years ago.

Sergeant Kline is set to receive $94,000 in bonuses for bringing in 47 recruits over 11 months. G-RAP allows volunteers within the Guard and even some eligible retirees to serve as part-time recruiting assistants. When a Guardsman gets a potential recruit to sign up for the Guard, he receives $1,000. When the recruit gets to basic training, the recruiter gets an additional $1,000.

Although Sergeant Kline's numbers are high, Col. Mike Jones, chief of Guard recruiting and retention, told the AP there are other Guardsmen on his heels. On the Air Guard G-RAP program, Ohio National Guard public affairs reported last week that Staff Sgt. Ashley Schmidt, a member of Ohio's 180th Fighter Wing, has brought in 14 recruits herself, netting $28,000 through the program. About 135,000 Guardsmen, so far, have signed up for G-RAP, which is administered by Docupak Inc., an independent contractor.

The Guard began the program as a result of extremely low recruiting numbers for the Army Guard in 2005. With the Army Guard then about 20,000 individuals below its 350,000 end strength allowance, Congress attempted early in 2006 to lower the Guard's end strength by 17,000 people. But G-RAP, along with other robust recruiting efforts, will have the Army Guard likely meet its 350,000 end strength limit by the summer.

NMFA Accepting 'Very Important Patriot' Nominations
The National Military Family Association (NMFA) is now accepting applications for the Very Important Patriot (VIP) Award. The program recognizes exceptional volunteers whose outstanding service contributes to improving the quality of life in their communities.

Each year NMFA presents five VIP Awards, five Awards of Honor, and five Awards of Merit. Each of the five VIP recipients will win $1,000 and a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to receive their award. Award of Honor recipients will each receive a check for $500, and Award of Merit winners will each receive a check for $250.

Due to the challenges of today's military operations, volunteers are playing an increasing role in providing support to their communities. NMFA and award sponsors want to recognize those volunteers whose selfless actions have made a lasting impact on their community.

Any active component, National Guard and Reserve or retired service member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, their family members and survivors are eligible for nominations.

NMFA will only accept nominations online at NMFA through May 30, 2007.

NMFA works to influence the implementation of policies that will improve the lives of the families of the reserve component, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

VA Seeks Remaing World War I Veterans
With the number of known living American veterans of World War I now standing at four, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking public assistance in determining whether others are still alive.

"These veterans have earned the gratitude and respect of th[is] nation," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. "We are coming to the end of a generation that helped bring the United States to the center of the international arena."

Mr. Nicholson noted that VA usually knows about the identity and location of veterans only after they come to the department for benefits. None of the four known surviving World War I veterans has been on the VA benefits rolls.

The secretary asks members of the general public who know of a surviving World War I veteran to contact VA via e-mail at WWI; via fax at 202-273-6702 or via mail at Office of Public Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs (80), 810 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20420. To qualify as a World War I veteran, someone must have been on active duty between April 6, 1917 and Nov. 11, 1918.

NGAUS History
[O]n October 1966, Maj. Gen. L. B. Adams Jr., Missouri adjutant general, presented a $2,500 check to NGAUS to cover the cost of a bust representing President Harry S. Truman to stand at The National Guard Memorial. He later wrote Mr. Truman, who served in the Missouri Guard, to tell him of this tribute by the Army and Air Guardsmen of his state.

In response, Mr. Truman, who was the World War I commanding officer of Battery D, 1st Battalion, 129th Field Artillery wrote: "There is no group or organization, here or elsewhere, whose expression of confidence could hold more meaning for me."

This Week in Guard History
April 6, 1917: Washington, D.C. - At the request of President Woodrow Wilson, Congress votes to declare war against Germany and Austria-Hungary bringing the United States into World War I. Though the war began in August 1914, Mr. Wilson tried to keep America neutral. The impact on some Guard units was immediate as a number of units were still on active duty from their tour of duty along the Mexican border to defend against incursions by Mexican bandit Pancho Villa.

Those units not on active duty began to be called incrementally into federal service. The mobilization would continue through the spring and summer before all Guard units were on active duty. In all the National Guard contributed 379,701 men to the war effort. They were organized into 18 divisions and numerous non-divisional units.

Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department. Comments and questions should be directed to NGAUS.org. NGAUS members can sign up for electronic delivery of NGAUS Notes at NGAUS.

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