Retirees gather for information on Appreciation Day
Retired Col. Douglas Dillard, a representative of the 82nd Airborne Division Association from Bowie, Md., asks a question during the panel discussion Oct. 15.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - From health care choices and post services to pending bills in the state legislature, area military retirees received updates on a variety of topics during the Aberdeen Proving Ground Retiree Appreciation Day Program Oct. 15.

Representatives from more than 30 post, local, state and federal organizations were on hand to answer questions and share information about their services.

The event was held at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center. A pay-as-you-go lunch at the installation dining facility followed. It was the last lunch at the facility, which is slated to close for good in December.

The APG Retiree Council, led by retired Lt. Col. Nelson Laughton, chairman; retired Sgt. Maj. Frank Yoakum, cochairman and retired Sgt. Maj. Drew Nobles, APG retirement services officer, hosted the event.

Col. Orlando. Ortiz, APG Garrison and deputy installation commander, welcomed the audience and introduced guest speaker Mike Plumer, deputy legislative director for the National Association for Uniformed Services.

Ortiz noted the presence of several returnees as well as many newcomers and asked all to get the word out to even more retirees who may be new to the area.

"We are here for you," he said.

Plumer extended thanks to Ortiz, APG senior leader Maj. Gen. Nick Justice and the Retiree Council for their support of the event.

He explained that NAUS represents more than 180,000 members in looking out for the benefits of all uniformed services retirees, veterans, current members and their Families or survivors.

Its main interest is preserving a strong defense, he said.

"NAUS works with all military organizations. We like to get face-to-face with you and learn your concerns. We always voice strong opposition to cutting our benefits."

He said a big concern right now is pending budget cuts and encouraged listeners to voice their concerns to their representatives.

"We work to meet the challenge to avoid cuts that chip away at our national defense," he said.

He spoke of the "need for the fighting military not to shoulder the burden of the reduction" and invited listeners to pick up the NAUS newsletter ( at his display to view the list of more than 30 pending House and Senate bills of interest to the military.

"We think all of these are important bills for veterans and for our armed forces."

An MWR film and PowerPoint presentation began with the history of the Proving Ground from the 1770s to today's award-winning architecture, environmentally friendly buildings and environmental stewardship.

It detailed MWR privileges available to retirees that included Outdoor Recreation's hunting, boating and equipment rental; use of the child development and youth centers, Army Community Service, recreation, gym and fitness centers, pools, golf courses, auto craft shop, recreation centers, libraries, eating establishments, bowling center and Civilian Welfare Fund excursions.

Ortiz called APG "a diamond in the rough," and said, "this is a small example of what APG provides you."

He talked about the visual changes at APG brought on by BRAC organization moves to APG and the Enhanced Use Lease business park that will bring in even more jobs and businesses.

He briefed listeners on the ongoing construction of the Route 40/715 interchange that is slated for completion in 2013 and the Residential Communities Initiative that allows civilians and retirees into on-post housing.

Applicants must apply through Picerne Military Housing at 410-305-1076 or visit the website at

Other quality of life enhancements include the reopening of Top of the Bay slated for late November. Ortiz encouraged retirees and their Families to keep up with the latest APG happenings through strategic communications channels that include the APG News and the following online websites:

A panel discussion followed with representatives from selected organizations taking questions from the audience.

Laughton thanked the vendors, Garrison support units, and ChalleNGe Academy cadets who served as ushers and greeters, for their support of the event. Look for detailed updates and more information at sites/HumanResources/Retirement/index.html or

View more Retiree Appreciation Day photos at

Page last updated Thu October 27th, 2011 at 16:04