AFSA HQ Newsletter – August 21st

This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

PROFESSIONAL AIRMAN’S CONFERENCE 

In A Word, AWESOME!

How else could you possibly describe this? Roughly 1500 attendees representative of Air Force Active Duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command, veterans, retirees and spouses or family descended upon Jacksonville, Florida for the Air Force Sergeants Association’s 2012 Professional Airman’s Conference and Annual Convention. 

All USAF MAJCOMS had participants in conferences to discuss improving business practices and subsequent quality of life issues. Conferences at this year’s PAC included USAF First Sergeants, Combatant and MAJCOM Command Chiefs, Career Assistance Advisors, and theBarnesCenterfor Enlisted Education. A noteworthy newcomer to the PAC venue was the AFRC Force Support Squadrons that included a mix of enlisted personnel as well as FSS Commanders. With the information shared, the knowledge gained, and the way ahead established for key issues specific to each conference, the return on investment for sending a representative yields high dividends AF-wide. 

All 13 of AFSA’s Divisions had members in attendance for the final time. The pending reorganization to streamline AFSA into seven divisions takes effect January 1, 2013. Other significant business conducted included the election of a new Executive Council, adoption of a new Legislative Platform, the unanimous approval of an Open Letter to Congress and the President, as well as a Resolution of the Association. 

All attendees were exposed to national leadership in joint sessions of professional development and also at two formal dinners with keynote speakers. Presidential cabinet, Member of Congress, senior AF leadership…all made it a point to attend and address the AFSA PAC.  Many of the speakers requested and by popular demand returned to address the Conference again this year. There were a number of Senior Leaders from our Government and the Chain of Command in attendance. Here is a partial list of guests: 

  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki
  • Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC)
  • Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley (4th yr in a row!)
  • Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark Welsh (1st public appearance since taking over 5 days prior)
  • CMSAF Jim Roy
  • Former Commander, PACAF, General Gary North (3rd yr in a row)
  • Commander, AETC, General Ed Rice (2nd yr in a row)
  • Director, ANG, Lt General Harry Wyatt
  • Vice Commander, AFRC, Maj General Craig Gourley (2nd yr in a row)
  • Executive Director, AFPC, Dr. Todd Fore (2nd yr in a row)
  • Vice President, Fisher House Foundation, Mr. Derek Donovan 

While the theme this year was “The Bridge Between Quality and Life,” the bridge between past and present is what many will recall as the marquee event ofPAC.Always a highlight, the “rock stars of the enlisted force” gathered yet again for an open panel discussion. Former CMSAF Bob Gaylor #5, Jim McCoy #6, Jim Binnicker #9, Dave Campanale #11, Eric Benken #12, Jim Finch #13, Gerald Murray #14 and Rod McKinley #15 all shared insights to issues they faced in their time as well as very candid thoughts about today’s challenges. 

One part bridging on issues, one part networking with counterparts, and a little dash of reunion flavor had everyone leaving Jacksonville better equipped to serve the USAF and AFSA. It was an amazing week with numerous highlights that inspired thoughts of what’s to come at next year’s PAC. 

Plan for it, you won’t regret it. 

AFSA PAC Election Results

Effective at 0001 hours on 16 August 2012, your new AFSA leadership took the reigns for the start of their term in office. Congratulations are in order for: 

  • AFSA International President – Dan Yeomans (2 years)
  • Vice President – Tim Litherland (1 year for unexpired term) 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES AND USAF RELATED NEWS 

AFSA Produce

Determining the direction your Association heads is a major part of the AFSA International Convention. Sewn from inputs from the field, watered by leaders at the Divisional level, cultivated by the International Legislative Committee and the HQ Military & Government Directorate, and then made ready for harvest at Convention by way of vote from all delegates. This is “the grass roots approach” AFSA’s membership used to produce the 2012-2013 Legislative Platform. Finalized, it is ready for presentation as an Open Letter to Congress and as a Resolution.  All three will soon be available on the AFSA web page. 

New CSAF

AFSA congratulates General Mark Welsh III as our new Air Force Chief of Staff! General Welsh becomes the 20th AF Chief of Staff with very tight budget constraints, investigations ongoing at Lackland, an aging bomber and fighter fleet, and a host of other issues facing the force. We greatly appreciated his participation at the AFSA Professional Airmen’s Conference in Jacksonvillelast week—three work days after taking charge of the World’s Greatest Air, Space and Cyber Force! 

The significance of the new CSAF choosing to attend and address the PAC can not be overstated. Gen. Welsh gave an outstanding briefing; unscripted and from the heart. While impossible to recapture his entire 50 minute dialogue with Airmen, what follows is extrapolated from his comments. Each statement had a companion anecdote to add personal detail and to drive home the point. 

Real NCO’s know…what they stand for and what they won’t…the only fingerprints that last are the ones you leave on young people…your people are better than you…for every person willing to lead, there are 100s more willing to critique them…being an NCO means something, act like it…email is a tool, not a leadership style…you gotta care about what your people care about…THEY are the common sense monitor…every airman has a story…if its never fun, its time to quit…air dominance is a team sport.” 

VETERANS NEWS 

Operation Amerithon

In a great piece from MSNBC, it’s obvious there are citizens that truly appreciate the 1% who have served on behalf of the 100%. 

“Disenchanted with law school and driven by a hunger to thank America’s veterans, the 28-year-old Pennsylvanianative began the 2,900-mile journey across the United Stateswith a mission. The run is called “Operation Amerithon,” which Masland launched along with Bullets2Bandages, an accessories and apparel maker. Together, they’ve raised more than $28,500 for the Travis Manion Foundation, which helps veterans and the families of fallen service members.” For the complete story click here

HEALTHCARE 

October 1st Headlines/Deadlines 

Reminder #1

On July 2 the TRICARE Management Activity announced new rates for Prime enrollees. Previously, beneficiaries who enrolled prior to or after October 1, 2011, had slightly different rates. Regardless of enrollment date, the new annual rates effective October 1, 2012, are $269.28 for individual and $538.56 for family coverage. Exempt from fee increases are survivors of active duty deceased sponsors or medically-retired uniformed service members and their dependents. Their fees will remain unchanged from the rate they originally enrolled into. 

Reminder #2

As a result of the 2012 NDAA that was passed into law last year, there is a significant change with a deadline to act that is fast approaching. TRICARE Prime has an option in certain regions of the country for beneficiaries to choose the United States Family Health Plan (USFHP) where they are serviced by Johns Hopkins, Christus Health and other medical providers instead of a Military Treatment Facility (MTF). Click here to see what’s in your region. If you sign up for USFHP after September 30, 2012, you will only be able to use it until age 65. TRICARE beneficiaries who either sign up before September 30th, or who are already currently receiving their care via USFHP, will be grandfathered in and therefore allowed to keep USFHP for life. 

WORTH REPEATING 

“Leadership is a gift…given by those who follow.” 

— Gen Mark Welsh, CSAF at the AFSA PAC,15 Aug 2012. This was the General’s first public appearance and speaking engagement since taking over as CSAF. 

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS 

Over 20 Items of Interest

For a complete and detailed listing of the many benefits to AFSA membership, go to the AFSA webpage and click on the left menu listing “Member Benefits” or just click here


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This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

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