1. CRSC Application Update
Retirees who are preparing applications for Combat-Related
Service Compensation can ensure faster processing in three
ways: (1) use VASRD (VA Schedule of Rating Disabilities)
diagnosis codes; (2) submit original rating documents,
because the most recent rating decisions may not contain
the data needed; and (3) don't delay your adjudication by
sending piles of unnecessary papers. Some retirees who
tried to get VASRD codes in June were turned down, so they
filed incomplete applications. Since then, VA officials
have notified their regional offices to make the codes
available. In addition, the VA is arranging for CRSC boards
to have direct access to VASRD codes. So, what if your
application included too much or too little? Don't apply
again, which would only stall the adjudication longer,
advises a Defense pay official who helped draft the CRSC
regulations. Just wait, and your service's CRSC board will
notify you of what, if anything, it needs.
 
2. CRSC Unresolved Issues
The service CRSC boards are facing some applications for
which policy decisions are pending. One example is the
question of whether CRSC will be paid based on the retiree's
actual VA disability rating or a VA determination that the
same veteran is 100-percent unemployable. Another is the
level of CRSC payable to retirees who are so disabled they
get a special monthly compensation on top of their
disability compensation. Applicants are advised (item above)
to be patient and wait, rather than to slow down the CRSC
board's work by clogging the system with extra mail or
telephone calls.
 
3. Rumsfeld Attacks Concurrent Receipt, Tricare Expansion
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent a letter on July 8
to the House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders
stating that he would join other senior advisors to the
President in recommending that he veto the fiscal �04
Defense Authorization Bill if it contains provisions he
opposes. Among the issues are (1) equity in concurrent
receipt of military retired pay and VA disability
compensation; and (2) expansion of Tricare coverage or a
civilian insurance subsidy for drilling Guard and Reserve
members while mobilized. The Military Officers Association
of America says, "the administration's opposition to
concurrent receipt is nothing new," but adds, "this year,
Secretary Rumsfeld has stooped further to oppose much-needed
health coverage continuity for drilling members of the
National Guard and Reserve."
 
4. Bronze Star Medal for WWII CIB/CMB
World War II veterans who earned the Army's Combat Infantry
Badge or the Combat Medical Badge are eligible to receive
the Bronze Star Medal. Army Regulation 680-8-22 states that
the award of either of these badges is considered a citation
in orders of documentary evidence of exemplary conduct in
ground combat against an armed enemy prior to 1 July 1947.
Executive Order 9419 dated February 4, 1944, which was
superseded by Executive Order 11046 dated August 24, 1962,
established the BSM for certain heroic or meritorious
achievement actions after December 6, 1941, so a CIB or CMB
earned before July 1, 1947 qualifies the individual for a
BSM. The BSM based on the award of the CIB or CMB before
July 1,1947 may be requested by a letter application
submitted to National Personnel Records Center, Medal
Section NRPMA-M), 9700 Page Ave, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.
 
6. Officials Report SARS Symptoms
Several airmen and non-military people who had potential
contact with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome victims have
been isolated at home near Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. They
exhibited mild to moderate respiratory illness symptoms,
according to 7th Medical Group physicians. The symptoms
meet the medical criteria considered suspect for SARS, such
as fever, respiratory symptoms such as coughing or difficulty
breathing, and transit through a community with documented
SARS cases, physicians said. Nine patients exhibited minimal
symptoms of SARS after recently traveling through Toronto or
being in contact with people who traveled there. None has
been diagnosed as having SARS, according to officials, and
all are in stable condition. Their identities are not being
released to protect their privacy. Dyess medics sent patient
samples for testing to the Air Force Institute for
Operational Health in San Antonio to help diagnose whether
any of the Dyess patients might indeed have SARS.
 
7. Navy Shoots CEFIP Rates to Max
Effective July 10, the Navy has increased Career Enlisted
Flyer Incentive Pay to the maximum allowed by law. The new
monthly amounts, based on Years of Aviation Service, are as
follows: less than or up to four YAS - $150; more than four
and up to eight YAS - $225; more than eight and up to 14
YAS - $350; and more than 14 YAS - $400. See NavAdmin 191/03.
 
8. Now: Internet Coupons Via the Commissary
At http://www.commissaries.com, commissary customers will
find a one-stop cyber information center that is there to
help them save money, said Rick Brink, Web content editor
for the Defense Commissary Agency. Although DeCA may not be
able to offer Internet coupons itself, customers can find
links to commercial sites that offer downloadable coupons
through the commissary web site, said Brink. The number of
coupons redeemed online or downloaded and used at "brick and
mortar stores" has increased dramatically over the last three
years, with grocery coupons among the most popular. For
example, a link to CoolSavings, one of the largest providers
of coupons on the Internet, is brand new on DeCA's links
page. Customers also can find commissary locations, hours,
and news about store events, he added. In addition, they
can access the shopping pages before they plan their commissary
trips to find out what's on sale.
 
9. AF: 200,000 Parents Receive Pins
Your Guardians of Freedom, the Air Force's grass-roots outreach
information and recognition program, has sent letters and
lapel pins to more than 200,000 parents of airmen, a Pentagon
official has announced. The program began in 2002 as a way
for Air Force leaders to recognize the employers of reservists
and guardsmen who were called to active duty to support
operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom. The recognition
program expanded in May to include parents. Nominated parents
received a personal letter signed by the Air Force's senior
leaders and a lapel pin emblazoned with the Air Force logo
and the letter "P." All active-duty, Air National Guard and
Reserve airmen may participate in the program, officials
said. Airmen may request up to two parent pins and letters
to be sent to either their parents or people they view as
parental figures. To participate,
visit www.yourguardiansoffreedom.com.
 
10. Navy MBA Program Seeks Applicants
The Naval Postgraduate School of Business and Public Policy
will be offering 25 Navy officers the opportunity for an
executive master of business administration (EMBA) through
distance learning. The degree will give students knowledge
and skills in financial management, acquisition, program
management, policymaking and change management. Applicants
must be a senior lieutenant or above, with division officer
experience, an undergraduate degree from an accredited
four-year college or university, an academic profile of 245
(2.6 or greater GPA), and very strong potential for
promotion. Officers in the unrestricted line community are
encouraged to apply. Deadline for applications is Aug. 15.
Contact the Naval Postgraduate School office at Naval
Station San Diego, (619) 556-3289; Vice Adm. Paul McCarthy
at (619) 556-3279 or pfmccart@nps.navy.mil; Becky Jones at
(831) 656-2755; or visit the Web site at www.emba.nps.navy.mil.
 
11. State Department May Have Certain Overseas Records
Although it takes a bit of web surfing to get started, the
State Department might be able to provide reports of birth,
marriage and death that occurred overseas. Go to
http://www.travel.state.gov and click on "Travel and Living
Abroad." Then click on "Birth, Death and Marriage Records."
At the page titled "Birth, Death and Marriage Records, "
click on "Apply for a copy of a report issued by an American
embassy or consulate showing that a U.S. citizen was born,
married or died while abroad." That takes you to "Consular
Reports of Birth, Death, and Marriage on File with the
Department of State." There you will find the information you
want, along with a form that can be copied and pasted, and
the address where you can mail it.