National Guard August 2012 : Page 8

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE Loud & Clear Y PLAN THIS month was to weigh in on the proposal to cut drill pay. As you probably know, the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensa-tion recommended giving drilling National Guardsmen one day of pay for each day of drill, a change from the longstanding policy of two days of pay for one day of drill. Simply put, it cuts drill pay in half. The report said a drilling Guardsman makes more pay per day on weekend train-ing than a soldier in a war zone. Talk about simplistic? My blood boiled. My ears steamed. I was ready to blast this issue from here to Kingdom come. But the emails that poured into NGAUS following a Legislative Alert on this issue last month proved again that our members are the best messengers for our cause. In little more than a week, they also sent nearly 19,000 emails through our website to Congress letting lawmakers know why this proposal is simply a nonstarter. So, I’m going to get out of the way and let you, our members, tell the story. M “Soldiers receive the same pay while deployed. Therefore, we must compare a non-deployed active-duty soldier to a nondeployed reserve-component soldier. It should also be noted that active-component soldiers have normal pass days on weekends and holidays as well as 30 days of annual leave.” —Maj. Russell W. Gibson, Oregon Army Guard This small sampling explains it better than I could have. The authors of this proposal simply don’t understand the true obligations of Guard service. Being a part-time Guards-man requires something close to a full-time commitment. And it’s absolutely insulting to suggest otherwise. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. The recommendations found in the report are merely that—recommendations. Nobody in Congress has introduced a bill to turn this idea into a law. In fact, early indications are that your emails found a lot of traction on Capitol Hill. Besides, the report also suggests improv-ing retirement by allowing Guardsmen to begin receiving retired pay on the 30th anniversary of their service rather than waiting for their 60th birthday. That’s something we could get behind. But let’s not fool ourselves, either. In this fi scal environment everybody is looking for places to cut and new programs are a very diffi cult sell. We’ve had a lot of success in the last few months. We won a seat at table and beat back attempts to reduce the Air Guard and change the way we market our force to potential recruits. Our opponents know that we don’t shy away from a fi ght. And your emails dem-onstrated loud and clear that you will not back down on this issue. It’s one more reason why I’m proud to be a Guardsman. The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org. Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala Chairman of the Board NGAUS The emails that poured in on the drill pay issue proved again that our members are the messengers for our cause. “[I]n addition to staff meetings throughout the month, I often spend one to two hours a day making sure our soldiers and airmen are able to meet their mission.” —Capt. Mike Isom, District of Columbia Army Guard “I am not asking. I’m pleading with you that you amend this recommendation of cut-ting the National Guard pay in half. It does not only aff ect our soldiers and their morale, but aff ects their families.” —Kimberly Andrews, wife of Army Guard helicopter pilot “Those in leadership are comparing apples to oranges. Guardsmen on drill pay do not receive COLA or a housing allowance. One day of drill pay is almost half of one day of active-duty pay in my state due to the lack of these benefi ts.” —Capt. Robert Zeitz, Hawaii Air Guard 8 | Na tional Guard

Chairman’s Message

Frank Vavala

Loud & Clear<br /> <br /> My PLAN THIS month was to weigh in on the proposal to cut drill pay.<br /> <br /> As you probably know, the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation recommended giving drilling National Guardsmen one day of pay for each day of drill, a change from the longstanding policy of two days of pay for one day of drill.<br /> <br /> Simply put, it cuts drill pay in half.<br /> <br /> The report said a drilling Guardsman makes more pay per day on weekend training than a soldier in a war zone.<br /> <br /> Talk about simplistic? My blood boiled. My ears steamed. I was ready to blast this issue from here to Kingdom come.<br /> <br /> But the emails that poured into NGAUS following a Legislative Alert on this issue last month proved again that our members are the best messengers for our cause.<br /> <br /> In little more than a week, they also sent nearly 19,000 emails through our website to Congress letting lawmakers know why this proposal is simply a nonstarter.<br /> <br /> So, I’m going to get out of the way and let you, our members, tell the story.<br /> <br /> “[I]n addition to staff meetings throughout the month, I often spend one to two hours a day making sure our soldiers and airmen are able to meet their mission.”<br /> <br /> —Capt. Mike Isom, District of Columbia Army Guard <br /> <br /> “I am not asking. I’m pleading with you that you amend this recommendation of cutting the National Guard pay in half. It does not only affect our soldiers and their morale, but affects their families.” <br /> <br /> —Kimberly Andrews, wife of Army Guard helicopter pilot <br /> <br /> “Those in leadership are comparing apples to oranges. Guardsmen on drill pay do not receive COLA or a housing allowance. One day of drill pay is almost half of one day of active-duty pay in my state due to the lack of these benefits.”<br /> <br /> “Soldiers receive the same pay while deployed. Therefore, we must compare a nondeployed active-duty soldier to a nondeployed reserve-component soldier. It should also be noted that active-component soldiers have normal pass days on weekends and holidays as well as 30 days of annual leave.” <br /> <br /> —Maj. Russell W. Gibson, Oregon Army Guard <br /> <br /> This small sampling explains it better than I could have.<br /> <br /> The authors of this proposal simply don’t understand the true obligations of Guard service. Being a part-time Guardsman requires something close to a full-time commitment. And it’s absolutely insulting to suggest otherwise.<br /> <br /> But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.<br /> <br /> The recommendations found in the report are merely that—recommendations. Nobody in Congress has introduced a bill to turn this idea into a law. In fact, early indications are that your emails found a lot of traction on Capitol Hill.<br /> <br /> Besides, the report also suggests improving retirement by allowing Guardsmen to begin receiving retired pay on the 30th anniversary of their service rather than waiting for their 60th birthday.<br /> <br /> That’s something we could get behind.<br /> <br /> But let’s not fool ourselves, either.<br /> <br /> In this fiscal environment everybody is looking for places to cut and new programs are a very difficult sell.<br /> <br /> We’ve had a lot of success in the last few months. We won a seat at table and beat back attempts to reduce the Air Guard and change the way we market our force to potential recruits.<br /> <br /> Our opponents know that we don’t shy away from a fight. And your emails demonstrated loud and clear that you will not back down on this issue.<br /> <br /> It’s one more reason why I’m proud to be a Guardsman.<br /> <br /> The NGAUS chairman can be contacted at frank.vavala@ngaus.org.

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