ORLANDO, Fla. - For years, Army Reserve Soldiers have pondered on what actions to take once they receive their 20-year letter. Not being educated on their options and the process makes it difficult for them to make the right decision.
The 81st Regional Support Command hosted its second Army Reserve pre-retirement seminar with the 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command on February 4th in Orlando, Fla. Approximately 151 Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers from all over the United States ranging from the ranks of Sgt. to Maj. Gen. attended the free seminar.
To set the tempo a warm and engaging welcome was given by Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Uhlig of the 143rd ESC and the Florida USAR Ambassador Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Leon Caffie, thanking the family members in attendance for their dedication and support of their Soldiers.
The one-day seminar had several retirement subject matter experts on hand to assist and brief on education, Survivor Benefit Plans, Veteran Affairs Services, Army Career Alumni Program, Transitions Assistance Program, Tricare medical and dental, ID and Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), age 60 retirement pay, Military family life consultants, military personal financial consultants, employer partnership of the Armed Forces and Thrift Saving Plan.
Sgt. Maj. Sandra Otte with the 335th Theater Signal Command has attended two active duty pre-retirement briefs at two different locations and feels like she's learned more by attending this particular one-day seminar.
"I wish I could have attended this prior to me receiving my 20 year letter," said Otte. "This seminar was very informative and I believe soldiers should attend this seminar a year out."
Otte really appreciated how the subject matter experts didn't just rush through their slides. They made sure each Soldier and their family member had a good understanding of what they are entitled to receive after they retire.
The seminar was created to assist soldiers in making the right life-changing decisions. By May 2012, all RSC's will have a Retirement Services Office. This office will assist all retiring and retired Soldiers, surviving spouses and their families and make them better aware of their retirement benefits.
Commander of the 1159th Transportation Company Detachment Lt. Col Rickey Pope and his wife Linda jumped on the occasion to attend the seminar. Once they arrived they were finally able to connect with people that could answer those questions that they couldn't find through the internet.
"I believe the information that was given today would be beneficial to all Soldiers," said Pope. "This will teach soldiers how to plan for their future and it informs them on what benefits are available after retirement for them and their families."
Mrs. Pope agreed with her husband, "This information is so informative I'm able to take things back home to my sister who is married to a retired Army veteran and educate them as well."
The goal of this seminar is to educate for Soldiers about what's owed to them for serving 20 plus years in the Army Reserve. As the years pass and the time comes for Soldiers to make that necessary life-changing decision, they will be prepared.