Saturday, July 22, 2006

NGAUS Notes 7/21/2006

'Three-Tier' Tricare Program Begins
Every National Guardsmen is now eligible to purchase Tricare health coverage, but only for a limited time and at prices that vary dramatically depending on one's deployment history and eligibility for other health insurance.

The new Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) program, established by the fiscal 2006 Defense Authorization Act, creates three separate premium categories or tiers.

Tier 1 includes Guardsmen recently called to active duty. They are eligible to purchase one year of TRS at 28 percent of the program's cost for every 90 days of active service. But they only have 90 days following separation from active duty to enroll.

Guardsmen without recent active service who are either unemployed or don't otherwise qualify for health insurance are in tier 2. They pay 50 percent.

Tier 3 includes everyone else. They pay 85 percent of the program's costs.

The government picks up the balance in all three tiers.

Coverage for tiers 2 and 3 can begin as soon as Oct. 1, if all required paperwork is complete by Sept. 25. The qualification window for coverage in 2007 ends Nov. 25.

Guardsmen must have their eligibility verified by their personnel office and complete the Department of Defense Form 2895, "Agreement to Serve in the Selected Reserve for TRICARE Reserve Select," before they can submit their purchase application.

Additional information about this new program is available here.

Board of Directors Convene This Week
Fiscal matters, the current legislative session and the upcoming general conference top the agenda as the NGAUS board of directors gather at The National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C., this weekend for their annual summer meeting.

The board will gather in full session tomorrow after a series of committee meetings today. The governing bodies of the National Guard Educational Foundation and the NGAUS Insurance Trust also will meet today.

Board members will review the NGAUS mid-year 2006 budget and receive the annual financial audit before moving on to legislative issues and planning for the 128th General Conference and Exhibition, Sept, 15 to 18, in Albuquerque, N.M.

They will also receive reports from the National Guard Executive Directors Association, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard, the Adjutants General Association, the NGAUS Corporate Advisory Panel and senior National Guard Bureau officials.

The board will also consider nominations for 2006 NGAUS Individual Awards.

NGAUS membership, current operations and strategic planning also will be discussed.

This will be the last board meeting headed by Brig. Gen. Robert V. Taylor, NGAUS chairman of the board. Association bylaws limit the board chairman to a single two-year term. The post is up for election at the conference.

The 29-member NGAUS board is the association's elected governing body. It meets three times a year.

Former Guard Leader Dies
A former South Carolina adjutant general who was active for decades in NGAUS and the Adjutants General Association died this week.

Retired Maj. Gen. T. Eston Marchant Jr., South Carolina adjutant general from 1979 to 1994, died Wednesday in Columbia, S.C. He was 85.

General Marchant started his military career in the Marines during Wolrd War II. He returned home after the war and began his long career in the South Carolina National Guard.

General Marchant was also a member of the Legion de Lafayette, a group of significant contributors to the National Guard Educational Foundation.

NGB Chief: Guard Border Security Mission on Schedule
With about 3,600 troops reporting on or ahead of schedule so far for border security duty in the Southwest, the National Guard is on track to meet the requirement of up to 6,000 troops by Aug. 1, the Guard Bureau chief told Pentagon reporters last Friday.

Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum said he's received nothing but positive feedback about the Guard response to the mission, both about its speed and the capabilities it brings in support of the U.S. Border Patrol.

As Operation Jump Start kicked off June 15, just a month after President Bush announced it, the Guard had already exceeded the scheduled commitment of 800 troops by 237, he noted.

By the month's end, the Guard's commitment skyrocketed to 2,800 - 300 above the expectation.

Most of the Guardsmen are coming from the four border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

Arizona and New Mexico, both with smaller National Guard forces than their immediate neighbors, will rely more heavily on augmentees from other states, General Blum said.

Arizona, with two of the biggest areas of focus - Tucson and Yuma - is likely to see the most out-of-state forces, he said.

These troops will generally rotate to the region for three-week rotations conducted as their regularly scheduled annual training periods, General Blum explained.

So far, 30 state governors have committed to support the mission, with no governors refusing, he said.

During Operation Jump Start, Guardsmen are providing communications, transportation, logistics, training, medical and construction support to the Border Patrol as it boosts its own ranks.

Recent War on Terror Photographs Sought
National Guard magazine is looking for recent pictures of the Army and Air Guard around the world for a September picture story. Selected photos will be used in a special "Starting Point" chronicling the fifth year of the nation's war on terror.

Suggested subjects include Guardsmen and Guard equipment supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OIF/OEF), homeland security missions, predeployment training, and deployment and redeployment ceremonies.

Submissions must be high-resolution (at least 300 dpi) digital images taken since Sept. 11, 2005. Images along with full caption and byline information should be sent to Deadline is Aug. 4.

Public affairs personnel, individual soldiers and airmen, family members and friends are all invited to submit.

All photos will also be forwarded to the National Guard Educational Foundation for possible inclusion in the National Guard Memorial Museum's new OIF/OEF exhibit, which is under development.

More information can be obtained from Maureen Hearn, magazine production manager, at 888-226-4287 or

Week in Guard History
July 18, 1863: The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, with other Union regiments, assault but fail to capture Battery Wagner near Charleston Harbor, S.C., from Confederate forces.

Raised as part of the Massachusetts Militia in 1863, the 54th was the first all-black unit (with white officers) organized for federal duty since the American Revolution. Its story inspired the 1989 movie Glory. But Hollywood altered many details.

For example, almost all its original members were "free born" and not former slaves. In addition, the sergeant major, played as a fictitious character by Morgan Freeman, was actually the eldest son of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

But the 54th did receive glory. Sgt. William Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Battery Wagner - the first of 18 African Americans to earn the award during the war.

NGAUS History
Maj. Gen. Dabney H. Maury, a native of Virginia and graduate of West Point, may be the father of NGAUS. After the Civil War, he was among many militia officers nationwide who had grown frustrated with War Department funding of state militia units. So he deiced to do something about it.

In 1878, General Maury invited groups of militia officers from the North and South - men who opposed each other in battle only a decade earlier - to gather in Richmond, Va., and discuss collective actions.

Meeting minutes were not reproduced or widely distributed, but this two-day assembly would be the first of many annual conventions. And NGAUS was born.

A scholar of Southern military history, General Maury founded the Southern Historical Society in 1868.

General Maury spent most of the Civil War in campaigns along the Mississippi River states. At war's end, he was commander of the Confederacy's Military Department of the Gulf. He served in the Regular Army during the Mexican War.

Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department. Comments and questions should be directed to

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