Thursday, August 4, 2016

Going to the Top of the Chain of Command



Today I talked with one of the soldiers I served with during for the last several years.  I told her about asking Congressman Joe Pitts to help me get the 11 months and 9 days of service I need to complete 20 years.  He couldn't help.  So she suggested I write to the President.

So I did, on www.whitehouse.gov

Here's what I wrote.  I will let you know what happens:

On May 3 of this year, I left the Army at age 63.  I first enlisted in 1972, served for 11 years on active duty and in the reserves then left the military to pursue a civilian career in 1984. In August of 2007 I re-enlisted at 54 years old, made possible by a temporary increase in the enlistment age.  I knew the mandatory age for ending my enlistment was 60.  I deployed to Iraq for a year in 2009-10.  I volunteered to go to Afghanistan in 2012 with the 55th Brigade of the PA Army National Guard, but the deployment was cancelled.  I got two extensions past age 60, in part because I scored maximum on the fitness test and was in a shortage job skill.  Earlier this year, I asked for, but did not get an extension to serve another year.  As a result, I left the Army with 19 years and 21 days of service.  As you are aware, military retirement requires 20 years.  I am a bicycle racer and finished an Ironman Triathlon at 61 years old.  I am physically able to serve and good at my military job. I live in the Congressional district of Joe Pitts and asked for his assistance.  He was unable to help.  At this point, I believe only President Obama could help me.  I would be happy to serve and know that medical personnel get waivers up to their late 70s.  Since I have six kids, three adopted and three the old fashioned way, the retirement income would be put to good use.  But I also would like to maintain my connection with the soldiers I served with in Pennsylvania and in Iraq.  Without an official connection to the military, I cannot go on military bases.  My service and all of my discharges were honorable throughout my career.  I have many awards and decorations.  My tour in Iraq was with the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, Pennsylvania Army National Guard.  While I did not serve in the Vietnam War, I served during that war and was temporarily blinded in a missile explosion in Utah.  Thank you in advance for anything you could do to let me complete my long career.

Family Black Sheep Flies a MEDEVAC Blackhawk

Brooklyn-born Amira Talifi, (not her real name) is a helicopter pilot I served with in the Army National Guard. She is one of seven ch...