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NCOA President and National Commander Testifies before Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs

Vince Patton Testifies

March 9, 2017 – Washington DC

Today NCOA President and National Commander MCPOCG Vince Patton, III testified before a joint committee on Veterans Affairs.  MCPOCG Patton highlighted NCOA priorities and thanked the committee for all of the hard work they have done for our veterans.  You can read NCOA’s written testimony here.  Other Veterans Service Organizations that presented at today’s hearing included the Association of the United States Navy, American Veterans, Gold Star Wives, Non Commissioned Officers Association, National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, National Guard Association of the United States, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, and Vietnam Veterans of America.

Get Hired in 2017 Texas!

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Get hired in 2017 Texas, we’re coming to you in February. Register for one of our career expos at NCOA CAREER EXPOS.  We can’t wait to see you there!  Why attend a job fair? Because, employers attend job fairs, and there is no substitute for face to face meetings.  Employers can provide you with tips to bypass or streamline the online process. You can ask the employer about substituting your military experience in place of formal education. Employers can take your information and reach out to you directly when an opening is available.  A job fair is a great place to do your homework about salary range, benefits, and clearance requirements at companies where you want to work.

NCOA ELECTS MCPOCG VINCE PATTON (Ret), PRESIDENT; OSTROWSKI SELECTED AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Vincent W. Patton, III, NCOA President and National Commander

NCOA ELECTS MCPOCG VINCE PATTON, USCG (Ret), PRESIDENT;

OSTROWSKI SELECTED AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Organization revamps leadership for new strategic vision

Las Vegas, NV, July 19 – The Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), the voice of enlisted personnel in the Armed Forces, Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves, and Veterans (separated and retired), named former Master Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard Vincent W. Patton III as President of the 56,000 member strong organization.  The Board of Directors also unanimously selected BMCS Jon Ostrowski, a 30 year veteran of the USCG Reserve as Executive Director.

MCPOCG Patton, a 30 year veteran of the USCG and the first African-American selected as the service’s senior-most enlisted ranking, will lead the organization’s ambitious strategic plan for growth and expansion over the next several years.

“I have been a member of the NCOA since 1976, and proud to continue my involvement with this great organization whose motto is ‘Strength in Unity,’ supporting and being an advocate on benefits and entitlements for the enlisted personnel of our armed forces, active, retired, reserve, veteran and family members,” said Patton at the NCOA’s Annual Business Meeting and Awards Tribute in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Patton served as the eighth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from May 1998 to October 2002. As the service’s top senior enlisted leader and ombudsman, he was the principal advisor to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, his directorates, and the Secretaries of Transportation and Defense, with primary focus on quality of life issues, career development, work environment and personnel matters affecting over 40,000 active duty, reserve enlisted, and civilian personnel service wide.

The Board of Directors also selected BMCS Jon Ostrowski as Executive Director.  BMCS Ostrowski was serving as NCOA’s Director of Government Affairs in Washington, DC, and was responsible for the inclusion of the amendment for representation on military panels for enlisted personnel.  Since his retirement in spring 2015, Ostrowski has served to represent NCOA on the Joint Leadership Council, Commonwealth of Virginia; the Military Coalition; and AAFES Exchange Retiree Advisory Council, United States Army.

“With our new leadership team, NCOA is extremely well positioned for our strategic agenda.  These leaders know and understand enlisted personnel, their needs, and how NCOA will lead our ranks in to this new era of warfare,” said NCOA Chairman of the Board Sgt Maj Paul Siverson, USMC (Ret), “the NCOA Board of Directors is proud to further spearhead improvements for our enlisted personnel and return the Association to its rightful home in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.”

The NCOA’s mission is to improve the lives of enlisted personnel in all military branches. The organization has embarked on an ambitious plan to expand services to veterans returning home, support the children of enlisted personnel, and assure that enlisted personnel are represented among decision-makers in the nation’s capitol.  Most recently, NCOA successfully included enlisted representation on panels considering major changes to military policies over health care in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

Scholarship Recipients Announced

CapDiplomaNCOA Scholarship Recipients Announced
Fourteen NCOA scholarships were recently awarded to dependents of NCOA members.  NCOA Scholarships are initially awarded for one academic year, but the student may be considered to receive this assistance throughout four years of undergraduate study if the student maintains a “B” average, carries the prescribed minimum of 15 hours and submits the required renewal application.

Receiving NCOA scholarships for the 2016-17 school year are:

  • Nelcy D. Avila, daughter of CW5 Fernando and Blanca Avila of Waldorf, MD
  • Kamille D. Bonecutter, daughter of SMSgt (Ret) Ronald and Patricia Bonecutter, of Gallipolis Ferry, WV
  • David P. Ethridge, son of Army Veteran SGT Thomas Hall and Lori Ethridge of Marietta, GA, recipient of the NCOA Walter W. Krueger Distinguished Scholarship
  • Madeleine Hayes, daughter of MCPO (Ret) Jeffrey and Tammy Hayes of Willis, TX, recipient of the NCOA Charles Calhoun Distinguished Scholarship
  • Alex A. Headlough, daughter of MSG (Ret) Mark Headlough and Andrea Plumlee of Temecula, CA
  • Leonia M. Hunt, daughter of MSgt David and Veronica Hunt of Merritt Island, FL
  • Megan B. Kemper, daughter of Air Force Veteran SSgt Ben and Kim Kemper of Castle Rock, CO, recipient of the NCOA Gary R. Pfingston Distinguished Scholarship
  • Kristin Kim, daughter of SCPO (Ret) Michael and Song Kim of Fredericksburg, VA, recipient of the NCOA Charles R. Jackson Distinguished Scholarship
  • Ashley Kutac, daughter of CSM Patrick and Karen Kutac of Colorado Springs, CO
  • Dillon C. Luedtke, son of CSM and Mrs. Frank Luedtke of Fayetteville, NC
  • Allison M. McCrea, daughter of Army Veteran SPC Kevin and Marie McCrea of Plymouth Meeting, PA, recipient of the E.L. “Ben” Benzel Distinguished Scholarship
  • Jake C. Prather, son of MSG Gilbert and Jackie Prather of DeRidder, LA
  • Marisa R. Rizzo, daughter of Navy Veteran PO3 Paul and Barbie Rizzo of Plainville, CT, recipient of the NCOA L.D. “Crow” Crawford Distinguished Scholarship
  • Rachel L. Westby, daughter of Navy Veteran PO3 Dean and Army Veteran SPC Linda Westby of Tucson, AZ

The NCOA Scholarship Fund has been providing grants to the children and spouses of NCOA members since 1975. To date nearly 1.5 million dollars has been committed to educating tomorrow’s leaders.

NCOA is grateful to our members and chapters and corporate supporters.  Without their continued generosity, none of these scholarships would be possible.

Annual Membership Meeting Committees Named

NCOASeal_4ColorLegislative/Resolutions Committee

The Legislative/Resolutions Committee is tasked with reviewing all new resolutions submitted by members or chapters for consideration during the Association’s Annual Business Meeting. The Committee also reviews all current resolutions of the Association. During its deliberations, the Committee may modify or create any resolution to better serve the needs of the Association. The Committee shall prepare a package of resolutions for consideration by the convention delegates that may include: 1) Previously adopted resolutions recommended for retention, 2) Previously adopted resolutions recommended for retention with amendments, 3) New resolutions recommended for approval, 4) Resolutions recommended for repeal, and 5) Resolutions considered by the committee but not recommended for approval.

The 2016 Legislative/Resolutions Committee will be comprised of the following individuals: Chairman – CMSgt (Ret) Elizabeth S. Harper, Vice Chairman – Lady Bonnie L. Cooper, Sir Scott Carnahan, MSgt Shawn Hansen, SMSgt Matthew Hose, Sir David Marston, MSG (Ret) Blake Oehme, Sir Paul Rizzo, Sir Kent Tucker, Lady Patricia Weaver, Sir Michael Wescott, SMSgt Darren Williams, Lady Sunny Wirth and Sir Scott Ytzen.

Tellers’ Committee

The Tellers Committee is tasked with the accurate tabulation of the ballots from the Annual Business Meeting. The 2015 Tellers’ Committee will be made up of the following members of the Knights of the Square Table: Lady Sunny Wirth, Chairman, Lady Bonnie Cooper, Sir Herbert E. Rogers and Sir Marvin Weaver, Jr.

Master-At-Arms Committee

Appointed to serve on the Master-At-Arms Committee with Chairman Sir James Sullivan are the following individuals: MSgt Michael Flores, Sir Lee Joslin, and Sir Michael Wescott.

Nominees for NCOA Board Positions

NCOASeal_4ColorThree Association members have been nominated to fill positions on the NCOA Board of Directors.  Read more by clicking here...

NCOA COMMENDS INCLUSION OF ENLISTED PERSONNEL ON MILITARY BOARDS & COMMISSIONS IN 2017 NDAA

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Washington, D.C., May 5 — The Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), the voice of enlisted personnel in the Armed Forces, Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves, and Veterans (separated and retired), is extremely pleased that the House Armed Services Committee’s Personnel Subcommittee has inserted language into the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909) that, in the future, will guarantee enlisted representation on boards, councils and committees making recommendations on Military Personnel Issues.  The specific language is included in Section 592 – assuring nearly 83% of the military, over 18 million former and present service men and women, will now be represented in decisions that directly impact their families and their lives. Section 592 reads as follows:  

Section 592 – Representation from Members of the Armed Forces on Boards, Councils, and Committees Making Recommendations Relating to Military Personnel Issues. This section would require that enlisted or retired enlisted members of the Armed Forces be represented on all boards, panels, commissions, or task forces established under chapter 7 of title 10, United States Code, to render a recommendation on any aspect of personnel policy directly affecting enlisted personnel.

 

 

Read more here - NCOA Press release.

Take action here.

 

NCOA Past President MCPON Robert J. Walker Dies

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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Robert J. Walker, USN (Ret), died on 15 February 2016.  Master Chief Walker was appointed to the position of NCOA President in January of 1982 and served until July 1982.

MCPON Walker enlisted in the United States Navy in 1948 when he was 19 years of age.  Following graduation from Recruit Training Command, he attended Radarman “A” school in Boston, Massachusetts and was assigned to the USS MCKEAN (DD 74).

Highlights of his 31 years of distinguished honorable service include the following accomplishments:

In 1975 he was appointed as the third Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy; he infused leadership training throughout the ranks and implemented the mandatory Petty Officer indoctrination course for all new E-4s; in 1977 he was widely credited with shaping the Navy Senior Enlisted force by re-shaping the top tier Fleet, Force, and Command Master Chief program, and made a big push to create the Enlisted Surface Warfare Qualification.

Following his retirement in 1979, he worked in the private sector, working with the Non Commissioned Officers Association, moving up the ranks to the position of President.  He later moved to work for the Jonathon Corporation, a ship repair and electronics business in Norfolk, VA.

MCPON Walker is survived by his wife Fran and five children.  He was an inspiring leader and an exceptional shipmate who selflessly served his nation with honor, courage, and commitment.  He will be sincerely missed by his community and his Navy family.

Fair winds and following seas Master Chief!

 

The Need to Reform the Veterans’ Appeals Process

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Statement from VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald

On the Need to Reform the Veterans’ Appeals Process

Last week I presented to the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee the way forward for the important transformation of the Department of Veterans Affairs—what we call MyVA.  We aim to improve our care and services to all Veterans. In order to do that, I made clear that we would need Congress’ help in legislating a fair, streamlined, and comprehensive process for new appeals, as well as providing much needed resources to address the current pending inventory of appeals.  I look forward to working with all stakeholders to design an appeals process that better serves Veterans.

VA will need legislation and resourcing to put in place a simplified appeals process that enables the Department to resolve the majority of our appeals in a reasonable timeframe for Veterans.

The appeals process we currently have set in law is failing Veterans—and taxpayers. Decades worth of law and policy layered upon each other have become cumbersome and clunky. Most importantly, it is now so antiquated that it no longer serves Veterans well as many find it confusing and are frustrated by the endless process and the associated length of time it can take to get an answer.

In 2012, VA made the commitment to end the disability claims backlog. It took too long for Veterans to receive a decision on their claim. Our commitment has resulted in transformational change. The disability claims backlog has been driven down to fewer than 82,000, from a peak of 611,000 in March 2013. At the same time, we have fully transitioned to a paperless, electronic processing system, eliminating 5,000 tons of paper a year.  Last year, we decided 1.4 million disability compensation and pension claims for Veterans and survivors – the highest in VA history for a single year and that comes on the heels on two previous record-breaking years of productivity.

As VA has become more efficient in claims processing, the volume of appeals has increased proportionately. While it remains true that 11-12 percent of Veterans who receive a disability rating file for an appeal, more processed claims means more appeals. This is VA’s next challenge.

The current pending inventory of appeals stands at more than 440,000 and is estimated to grow rapidly. Right now, Veterans who file an appeal wait an average of three years for appeals to be resolved by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and an average of five years for appeals that reach the Board of Veterans Appeals’ (Board), with thousands lasting much longer. That’s unacceptable.

We are applying lessons learned from the transformative change that allowed us to reduce the disability claims backlog. Like our work with the claims processing, the appeals process will need changes in people, process and technology. Upgraded technology will make changes to our mail system and paper records, and incorporate some efficiencies in the way appeals are managed and processed.  Retraining and increased staff will be necessary.  But they will not be enough.  We must also look critically at the many steps in the current complex appeals process used by VA and by Veterans and their advocates to design a process that better serves Veterans.

A new appeals process would provide Veterans with the timely and fair appeals decisions they deserve, and adequate resourcing that permits the VBA and the Board to address the growing inventory of appeals.

 

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NCOA Testifies to Armed Services Committee for Personnel on SBC-DIC Offset

December 9, 2015 – Washington DC

Jon Ostrowski SBCDIC Hearing

 

 

 

 

 

Today Jon Ostrowski, Director of Government Affairs for NCOA testified before the Armed Services Sub-Committee on Concurrent Receipt of Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and  & Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).  Watch the hearing here.

View written testimony NCOA SBP-DIC Statement to HASC (12-9-2015)

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