OnWatch is a quarterly newsletter of the Fleet Reserve
January 8 2018
Not too long ago the friendly, historic rivalry between the Academies of the Navy and Army met once again on the football field. In this long-standing competition, the Army ended up victorious, however, the Navy used this opportunity to roll out their new recruiting slogan. Rear Adm. Pete Garvin, Commander Navy Recruiting Command said, "For more than 200 years our sailors have been tested and shaped by the sea. Our new tagline 'Forged by the Sea' perfectly captures the transformative impact the Navy and the sea has on our sailors." The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) accomplished legislative victories for active duty and reservist and just like the Navy we are forging ahead to continue to improve pay and benefits.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-H.R.2810), was signed into law in December. It will fund military pay (the larger than requested 2.4 percent pay raise), training, equipment and authorize an increase in the total number of sailors and Marines. FRA successfully lobbied to stop a one percent cut to military basic allowance for housing (BAH). With the ongoing global conflicts, military readiness will be just as important this year as it was the past year. It is unfortunate that Congress is still struggling with funding the military due to the hindering effects of the Budget Control Act (BCA), also known as sequestration. Representatives from both parties, as well as the President himself, have expressed their dislike of sequestration but have yet to repeal its devastating effects on the budget process. We encourage you to visit the FRA Action Center and ask Congress to repeal the BCA.
FRA had other successes, such as passing legislation to improve the GI Bill, that include:
- Eliminating the 15-year time limit for using education benefits;
- Abolishing exemption of GI Bill credits given to Reserve Component members who were called to active duty under specified circumstances;
- Providing beneficiaries will not have to pay back tuition paid to attend schools that close or lose their accreditation; and
- Awarding benefits to Purple Heart recipients without the 36 months of active duty requirement.
President Trump has repeatedly requested to build a larger Navy with a total of 355 ships. At this time there are approximately 279 active naval ships. About 20 percent of those ships are deployed at any given time—a number that has not been seen since the Cold War era. Many representatives in Congress believe a 355 ship Navy will be needed to keep up with global events. All the more reason, these budget delays and obstructions need to be done away with. Military readiness is essential for a well-equipped and well-trained military force.
A new slogan can have a tremendous effect on recruiting but retention is also critical for a sailor, a Marine or Coast Guard men to be 'Forged' properly. In order to forge ahead, it is not uncommon to change tactics by introducing a new slogan and commercial. FRA's slogan of Loyalty, Protection and Service has been in place for more than 93 years. We have no plans to change it anytime soon but we did introduce a new recruiting tool in the form of a commercial. It can be viewed on our website or YouTube channel, and will soon be distributed in other forms. Click here to view our commercial, and feel free to share with friends and family and other service members. Our slogan derived from our founders' beliefs in:
- Loyalty one owes to God and country, loyalty to the Navy, to its glorious traditions, and the loyalty one owes to his Shipmates.
- Protection of one's county, by advocating an adequate Navy to insure peace, to provide protection to our Shipmates (active, reserve, and retired) by furthering or sponsoring measures beneficial to all.
- Service the rendering of services in every possible way to our members and their families.
As an association, we are here to serve our membership. In the spirit of Loyalty, Protection & Service, FRA will continue to protect service member's pay and benefits as well as those earned benefits for veterans and military retirees and their family members. If you are not a member, consider joining. If you know of anyone who might be interested in joining a military association that serves the Sea Services tell them to check us out! The association's most utilized advocacy tool is our Action Center, which will be going through an upgrade to make it more user friendly in an effort to get our members' message to Capitol Hill.
Sailors aren't born. They're forged. The Navy is reaching a new audience and so must FRA. The larger our numbers, the larger our voice is on Capitol Hill.
OnWatch is a quarterly news update for active duty and Reserve personnel, written by Brian Condon. He served four years on Active Duty in the Marine Corps. Condon began his career with the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), as Assistant Director of Veterans Programs on October 2015. He is committed to FRA's mission to maintain and improve the quality of life for Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel and their families. You can reach Brian directly on any of FRA's advocacy issues at BrianC@fra.org