• P.O. Box 65900 Washington, D.C. 20035-5900
  • 202-257-5446
  • P.O. Box 65900 Washington, D.C. 20035-5900
  • 202-257-5446

April 15, 2014

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft,
Who are these magic people in OPM? I, too, spent six weeks in ROTC summer camp back in 1966.

Chris
Via the internet

Dear Chris,
The allowable military service for civilian service credit is found in the CSRS/FERS Handbook. You can click on this (PDF) link to take you there. Start on page 4 and follow along for the next few pages. It would be best for you to work with an OPM Personnel Specialist to determine your qualifications and the required paperwork.

Shaft Notes
• VA Leadership and representatives were joined recently by city and state officials, veteran service organizations and community partners to cut the ceremonial ribbon of the newly-constructed Women’s Health Clinic. The 7,160 square foot space signifies the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s promise to provide quality health care to all Veterans.

Women are the fastest growing Veteran population and to meet their unique health care needs, the DC VA Medical Center reconfigured clinical space to better serve the 14,693 women Veterans enrolled for care. The Department of Veterans Affairs expects that number to grow quickly and by 2020, women will represent 12% of the total Veteran population.

The opening of the new clinic marks a promise kept. VA Women’s Health Services promotes the health, welfare and dignity of women Veterans and their families by ensuring equitable access to timely, sensitive, high-quality health care. The new clinic offers a safe, respectful and inviting environment with six exam rooms, two procedure rooms, a meditation and alternative therapies treatment area, a conference room and a serene waiting area with computer access.

“In addition to providing comprehensive women’s health care, our new clinic expands our ability to provide more gender-specific services, such as gynecology, mammography and wellness education,” said L. Gale Bell, RN, Women’s Health Program Manager at the DC VA Medical Center.

When entering the new Women’s Health Clinic, Veterans are greeted by a tile mosaic butterfly built into the floor, symbolizing the cultural transformation in VA health care for women. The clinic’s color scheme and décor present a calm and private setting complete with comfortable seating, an inset electric fireplace and a children’s activity area.

The ribbon cutting ceremony not only represented a new era in women Veterans’ health care, but signified the Department’s and the community’s support of female Veterans.

For more information about women’s VA health care, phone 202-745-8345.

• The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is now accepting entries for the 2014-2015 VFW Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Penscholarship competitions. The announcement comes just three weeks after students from across the globe took home their share of the more than $3 million in scholarships and awards from last year’s competitions.

The VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions are dedicated to promoting patriotism among our nation’s youth. Students are asked to submit an essay in response to a question or statement on a subject which prompts them to consider how democratic ideals and principles apply to their lives.

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asks students to explain, “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is an audio-essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. The national winner will receive the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in grades 6-8. This year, students are asked to reflect on the statement, “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.” The national winner will receive a $5,000 award.

Student participants are asked to submit their entry (along with a completed entry form) to their participating local VFW Post. The deadline for student entries in both contests is November 1, 2014.

Also on the subject of the VFW, they voiced their support of a Pentagon announcement to realign the organizations charged with locating and identifying tens of thousands of American troops who have yet to return home from their wars.

“What’s most important about this initiative is that the Full Accounting Mission continues, and we appreciate Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s personal involvement to reshape a multi-organizational structure that shares unity of purpose into one that also shares unity of command,” said William A. Thien, a Vietnam veteran and national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

• The House Democratic Caucus recently announced today it has appointed Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) to the House Armed Services Committee. The congresswoman will fill an open seat on the committee and the full House will vote to finalize the appointment later this week. The appointment came on a recommendation by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which was tasked with filling the open committee seat. The congresswoman released the following statement on the appointment:

“As a twice-deployed combat veteran, and Captain in the Hawaii Army National Guard, I take very seriously the responsibility to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. This spring, as tough debates take place about the National Defense Authorization in the House, I will continue my work to support our servicemembers and their families, and to bring our troops home quickly and safely from Afghanistan. I look forward to working towards ensuring sound national security policy, and to cut waste and inefficiency within the Defense Department. I will continue my bipartisan efforts to reform our military justice system in order to end the epidemic of military sexual assault.

“Hawaii plays a significant role in advancing our defense and foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region, and this appointment ensures Hawaii will continue to have a voice on this critical committee. I am honored to join the committee and look forward to working with all of its members as we set priorities and funding levels for the Department of Defense, provide for our men and women in uniform, and support a robust national security strategy that focuses on emerging threats around the globe.”

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