Metro-East News

Roger That: Local military comptrollers donate school supplies to ESL shelter

News-Democrat

Almost 100 military comptrollers from Defense Department facilities across the metro-east came together last Thursday at Bella Milano restaurant in O’Fallon to deliver 3,000 school supplies — everything from notebooks and pens, to rulers and binders — to the Holy Angels shelter in East St. Louis.

The American Society of Military Comptrollers, Land of Lincoln Chapter, worked over the summer to collect school supplies during drives held at the military facilities, including Scott Air Force Base and the National Geospatial-intelligence Agency, in St. Louis.

Paulyn Snyder, Holy Angels’ coordinator, and Gerry Hasenstab, the shelter director, spoke to the comptrollers group. Snyder emphasized the significance of the donations in helping improve the educational development of students who call Holy Angels shelter home and break the cycle of poverty.

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President Obama informed Congress Friday that he’ll follow through with plans to cap military pay raises at 1.3 percent next year keep a damper on mounting defense spending, according to Military Times.

“As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,” Obama wrote in a letter to House and Senate leaders. “We must maintain efforts to keep our nation on a sustainable fiscal course,” he wrote. “This effort requires tough choices, especially in light of budget constraints.”

The president noted that administration officials do not believe the lower-than-inflation pay raise will hurt the military’s ability to recruit and retain servicemembers.

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Military Times is also reporting on the details of the “Force of the Future,” the blueprint for how the Pentagon plans to rebuild the military personnel system in the biggest overhaul of that system since World War II. The draft report landed last week on Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s desk.

The dozens of recommendations from the Pentagon's top personnel officials would fundamentally change how the military recruits, pays, promotes and manages the active-duty force of 1.3 million troops, according to a draft copy of the report obtained by Military Times.

The so-called “Force of the Future” reform package aims to yank the Pentagon’s longstanding one-size-fits-all personnel system into the Information Age by sweeping away many laws, policies and traditions that date back to World War II.

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Troops separated from military service because of misconduct are far more likely to become homeless than other veterans, a study released Tuesday has found, according to Military.com.

Researchers with the Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Health Care System in Utah found that more than a quarter of veterans who were homeless at their first Veterans Affairs visit had been separated for misconduct, with a risk for homelessness nearly five times greater than that for troops with normal separations.

The researchers analyzed VA records of 448,290 active-duty service members who had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, separated between 2001 and 2011 and were eligible for and used VA services. About half were from the Army, about two-thirds had had combat exposure, most were men and nearly all were enlisted.

Although only 5.6 percent of the troops — 24,992 — had been separated for misconduct, they represented 25.6 percent of homeless veterans when they first visited the VA, the study found.

Roger that is a regular feature by BND military reporter Mike Fitzgerald. Contact him at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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