AN IDEAL APPOINTMENT

WHITTINGTON NAMED TO FEDERAL COMMITTEE
By Brian Livingston, community@laurelleadercall.com Forwarded by Floyd Sears

Jim Whittington of Laurel, having been a 20-plus year veteran of the United State Air Force, should know better than most that you don't volunteer for anything. But Whittington, a retired master sergeant, feels very strongly about veterans' benefits. It was Whittington who in March of 1999 fired the first salvos in the battle veterans now are fighting over “broken promises.”

In yet another skirmish dating back to that blustery day in Laurel when the first public meetings were held with political figures of the time in order to right a wrong, Whittington was just recently named to the TRICARE Region Four, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) working group that will be looking at health care alternatives for those military beneficiaries who currently rely on military treatment facilities for their care. The group also will assist senior leadership in identifying options if a certain treatment facility is selected for realignment or closure.

“This is a nation wide appointment I'm proud to serve on,” said Whittington. “I, along with several other group members from other regions of America am tasked with making sure our military personnel are properly cared for. It is an honor to serve again.”

The groups are set up under the Department of Defense and the TRICARE Management Activity aligned with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense of Health Affairs in Falls Church, Virginia. Richard A. Mayo, RADM, MC, USN, who is the Deputy Director of the health affairs, welcomed Whittington into this new, ground-breaking organization.

“Whittington's prior experience, regional perspective, and genuine concern for our beneficiaries will ensure we maintain a uniform health care benefit as the leaders shape our armed services for the future,” said Mayo in a press release.

Whittington has been in the forefront of the “Keeping the Broken Promises” for retired military personnel and their families since 1999. Since then he, along with others in the Military Retirees Grass Roots group, has testified in front of Congress and met with countless political leaders in trying to get the government to honor their promises to World War II and Korean War veterans and families.

The first BRAC meeting will be held on the morning of Sept. 24, 2004, at the Skyline Complex in Falls Church.

A FOLLOW-UP NOTE FROM JIM WHITTINGTON: 9-12-04

“I normally do not forward any emails that mention my name., but let me clarify a point. I did not fire the first salvos in our fight to regain our medical care under the umbrella of the “Broken Promise” and the MRGRG. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands that were involved before me. I have played a very minor role, compared to others. Just wanted to set the record straight.

“I got directly involved in 1997, if my memory serves me right. That is when I met Floyd Sears over the internet. We have since become steadfast friends. But Floyd is the one who really got me involved. Then Col. Day, Class Act Group, invited Floyd and me to Ft. Walton Beach,FL for a meeting on 16 Dec. of 1998.

“Yes, I was nominated and selected to serve on the BRAC WORKING GROUP. BRAC has affected thousands of people with previous base closings. This one will affect thousands more. It has been reported that 25% of the U.S. Bases may be closed this time around. The Official list has not been published yet. This next round of Base Closings is one more reason to get involved one more time and I ask you to do so.

“Retirees who live near and use the MTF pharmacies at the bases
selected to be closed will suffer. The Widows will suffer. As others in the past rounds of BRAC have suffered and had to change the way they do business with doctors by changing doctors, clinics, and hospitals.

“Just thought you may want to know.”