Skip to comments.Top Enlisted Leader Visits Armed Forces Retirement Home
Posted on 08/09/2007 4:51:33 PM PDT by SandRat
| WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2007 The U.S. militarys most senior enlisted member locked up his office yesterday in pursuit of other seniors senior citizens living in the Armed Forces Retirement Home here.
The Armed Forces Retirement Home is funded by 50 cents deducted from all military enlisted members pay each month, and only former enlisted servicemembers may reside here. Whether the residents once wore green fatigues or blue dungarees, Gainey and his staff gave the retirees something a half dollar just cant buy: their time.
How are you doing, maam? So I hear you were in the Army, but you were married to a sailor. Well I wont hold that against you, Gainey jokingly said to a 76-year-old World War II veteran. I thank you and your husband for giving me my freedom.
Its not about the Navy, the Marines Corps, the Air Force or even the Army. Its just about us, yesterday and today, Gainey said. You cover up the branch name on everybodys uniform and whats left? The initials U.S. I thank you for your service.
The Armed Forces Retirement Home is a true home to more than 1,000 former U.S. military members. The 272-acre college-like campus keeps residents busy and entertained with an indoor movie theater, a bowling alley, a fitness center, two fishing ponds and a nine-hole golf course. Yet for many veterans, no commodity can compare to the joy of sharing war stories with todays servicemembers.
(Gainey) was telling me about how nice it is over in Okinawa, Japan. I was laughing at how much it has changed. Back in World War II, we got bombed nearly every day over there, 85-year-old veteran Charles K. Wallace said. Id hardly call it nice. The bombs used to explode so hard that it would knock me out of my rack while I was sleeping. I cant complain. At least I was able to get up. Not everyone was so lucky back then.
Nine-year Army Air Corps veteran Edna K. Ast celebrated her 97th birthday during the Gaineys surprise visit. Im just happy to have made it this long, she said. I was shocked to have so many new visitors for my birthday. I enjoyed todays visit so much. Sergeant Major Gainey and his staff really made my day.
Whether visiting with smiling veterans with walkers or talkative retirees in wheelchairs, Gainey and his joint team enjoyed their time spent with those who once wore the uniform they wear today.
The trip was good. It brings you back down to earth, said Army Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Kohles, who provides security for Gainey. It made their day to see us in our new uniforms. They were surprised with how much the services have changed. I enjoyed comparing and contrasting stories with them.
Fifty cents just isnt enough for what theyve done. I would gladly pay more money in to the AFRH, Kohles said. One day that could be me. There were people there that had two years in service, and some were retired 25-year veterans. The AFRH is a good deal. Its too bad more dont come out to visit.
Officials here noted the Armed Forces Retirement Home is always looking for military and civilian volunteers to help out in their fish ponds, flower beds, and dining areas. Many take for granted the residential house of heroes located near the White House and the Capitol and once home to four U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln. Yet the Defense Departments top enlisted leader realizes that future trips here are just a hop, skip and a jump away from his office at the Pentagon.
I would encourage everyone one in uniform to find time to visit the AFRH, Gainey said. The minute you enter the door, you will feel the warmth. Youll actually be reliving history with every veteran you talk with. I plan on coming back at least once a month.
(Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Derrick Ingle is assigned to the Joint Staff.)
Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, USA
There’s no Sergeant Major of the Army?
Yes, and he’s senior to this guy, who is a Command Sergeant Major.
“The Armed Forces Retirement Home is funded by 50 cents deducted from all military enlisted members pay each month, and only former enlisted servicemembers may reside here.”
Somewhere in my career I read that pay and allowances forfited by enlisted through courts-martial action also goes the the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Don’t know if that is true.
In my career I never heard anyone complain about the .50 deduction from their pay to fund this home. Although I did hear one NCO question whether the deduction qualified as a charitable deduction for his taxes. Apparently, the $6.00 was enough to move him into a lower tax bracket.
I remember hearing that too but never got around to confirming it.