Metro-East News

Roger That: Get ready — Tricare premiums on the rise

Tricare Prime beneficiaries will see a slight uptick in their annual enrollment fees starting Oct. 1, according to Military Times.

Individual retirees under age 65 will pay $282, up from the current rate of $277, while those with families will pay $565, up 2 percent from the current $555.

Medically retired troops and their families, as well as family members of those who died on active duty, will not be required to pay the increases.

Tricare Prime is a health-maintenance style benefit for active-duty personnel, their families, military retirees under age 65 and their families. Under the program, active troops and their dependents are exempt from paying the enrollment fee.

The Obama administration is developing a package of unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cybertheft of valuable U.S. trade secrets, according to the Washington Post.

The U.S. government has not yet decided whether to issue these sanctions, but a final call is expected soon — perhaps even within the next two weeks, according to several administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Issuing sanctions would represent a significant expansion in the administration’s public response to the rising wave of cyber-economic espionage initiated by Chinese hackers, who officials say have stolen everything from nuclear power plant designs to search engine source code to confidential negotiating positions of energy companies.

An Air Force reconnaissance airplane caught fire in April, endangering the lives of 27 airmen aboard the plane — all because a retaining nut connecting oxygen tubing was not tightened properly, accident investigators have determined. The report blamed a private defense contracting company for the accident, according to CNN.

“Failure by L-3 Communications depot maintenance personnel to tighten a retaining nut connecting a metal oxygen tube to a junction fitting above the galley properly caused an oxygen leak. This leak created a highly flammable oxygen-rich environment that ignited,” U.S. Air Force investigators wrote in report published August 3.

Investigators determined the ensuing fire caused $62.4 million in damage to the RC-135V, which electronically snoops on adversaries and relays gathered intelligence to commanders.

A Congo-born nurse was laid to rest in a quiet corner of Belgium on Saturday, surrounded by emissaries from the king and the United States, politicians and a military honor guard, according to Stars and Stripes.

Augusta Chiwy — Belgium's “forgotten angel” — was buried at Bastogne, the scene of one of the most ferocious battles of World War II where at great personal risk she helped save countless American lives. Chiwy died on Aug. 23 at age 94.

Bastonge, southern Belgium was the backdrop for the month-long Battle of the Bulge during the final stages of World War II. In December 1944, Adolf Hitler ordered a massive attack on allied forces in the Ardennes.

About 80,000 American soldiers were killed, captured or wounded in a matter of weeks. But this diminutive Congo-born nurse left the shelter of her uncle's cellar on Dec. 21, 1944, to come to the aid of the army doctor in Bastogne, Jack Prior.

Medical supplies were scarce but Chiwy, working on despite lack of food and rest, “was always in the thick of the splinting, dressing and hemorrhage control,” Prior said.