This sweeping defense policy bill authorizes a $700 billion-dollar budget for the military in Fiscal Year 2018, which also includes significant dollars for missile defense programs to counter the growing nuclear weapons threat from North Korea.
Wow! What a year. We were able to have as our guests this year, The Chief of Naval Operations, The Commander of Fleet Forces Command, the
Navy Element Commander from TRANSCOM, and the Chief of Navy Reserve. We welcomed the new Coast Guard Commander for the Region, and had several wonderful events for our membership, including our Navy Ball and Golf Tournament and hosting the Commanding Officer and some of the crew from the USS Harry S Truman. A special thanks to all the volunteers that helped make those events and this year’s other events a success. I was particularly pleased to be invited to present the Honor Sea and League Cadet of the Year awards to PO1 Tom Hepfer and LC3 Daniel Balai at the Annual Sea Cadet awards banquet. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors and Membership of the Navy League, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Ken Nowack and Tom Gamboe for their dedicated leadership to the young men and women that make up our Battleship Missouri Sea Cadet Corps. Our annual Membership Meeting and Awards Banquet will be held at the Missouri Athletic Club downtown on 27 Jan 2018. We are looking forward to a great turnout in 2018 to honor our awardees. I look forward to seeing you there and to the important work we have left to do in 2018, including our attention to the new USS St. Louis (LCS-19), the seventh ship to bear the St. Louis name, and the activities surrounding her construction and outfitting at Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. And finally, I would like to thank Cristina Bergjans for all her work with the St. Louis Council as our treasurer. She will leave us at the end of 2017. Thanks for everything Cristina!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all!
On November 16th , Congress gave final approval to the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This sweeping defense policy bill authorizes a $700 billion-dollar budget for the military in Fiscal Year 2018, which also includes significant dollars for missile defense programs to counter the growing nuclear weapons threat from North Korea. This Authorization bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 356-70 and then sailed through the U.S. Senate on a voice vote. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature. The series of tragic accidents that happened across our military in the last few years highlights the concerns of members of Congress about the readiness of our forces. For 56 years the NDAA has been the primary way in which Congress executes its Article 1 constitutional obligation to "provide for the common defense." This fiscal year 2018 bill includes expenditures for a muchLegislative Affairs By Mike Nolan needed rebuilding in many defense areas after a half-decade of cuts. Today we have too many planes that cannot fly, too many ships that cannot sail, too many soldiers that cannot deploy, while too many threats are gathering. We have come to a key decision point. For six years we have just been getting by cutting resources, as the world becomes more dangerous, asking more and more of those who serve and putting off tough choices. This NDAA goes a long way to help restore our readiness. Some of the important readiness shortfalls addressed in this bill include: • Increased End Strength • Increased Naval Presence on the high seas • Aviation readiness • Ground Forces • Missile Defense • Critical Munitions There is only one catch to this bill. The Budget Control Act of 2011 is still in effect and it sets strict limits (caps) on federal budgets, including the Defense Department. The caps mandated by the 2011 law on national defense spending are significantly lower than the $700 billion authorized by the 2018 NDAA. Members of Congress have yet to "strike a deal" to ease the caps on defense spending.
Senator Claire McCaskill 202 224-6454
Senator Roy Blunt 202 224-5721
Congressman Lacy Clay 202 225-2406
Congresswoman Ann Wagner 202 225-1621
Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer 202 225-2956
The 242nd Navy Birthday Ball was held at the Hilton Ballpark Hotel on October 21st and over 360 people attended the celebration. The hosts were Wayne Chauncey, Navy League-St. Louis Council President and RDML Peter Clarke, Director, Strategy, Capabilities, Policy and Logistics, USTRANSCOM. Special guests included Maj Gen John Flournoy, Chief of Staff USTRANSCOM and 61 Sea and JNROTC cadets. The guest speaker, Chief of Navy Reserve, VADM Luke McCollum addressed the Navy, the Navy Reserve and the strong historical connections of the Navy to the St Louis area. He also spoke to sea service readiness and the needed seapower to promote our interests and national security. He stressed the need to increase our willingness to assume responsibility for national security and defense issues. TRANSCOM members led the opening ceremony, the missing man and honors ceremony and the traditional birthday cake cutting. Predinner music was played by the Air Force Band of Mid America-Shades of Blue Quintet and toasts and singing the service songs was enjoyed by everyone. The Sentimental Journey Dance Band played for the dancers and others enjoyed the Anheuser Busch provided products and wine provided by Marcone. Special thanks to Cristina Bergjans and Kathy Chauncey for their yeoman efforts planning and managing all the ball preparations. Special thanks to our sponsors their contributions made the evening possible for many service members and cadets and greatly helped our ongoing youth programs.
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Vice Admiral Luke McCullom, Chief of Navy Reserve visited St. Louis on 21 October to be the Navy Birthday Ball guest speaker. Prior to the festivities he participated in an employer round table workshop sponsored by the Missouri ESGR and Daugherty Business Solutions at the Hilton St. Louis Ballpark hotel. Joining Admiral McCullom on the panel was General Frank Grass, retired Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Rear Admiral Dan Kloeppel, retired Commander Naval Air Force Reserve. Area company representatives heard VADM McCullom speak to the importance of the Reserve and Guard in today’s military operational role. He also addressed the new term “Employer Fatigue” that is of great concern to the Reserve Components (RC). The RC’s are working on how they might resolve the issue of continuing mobilizations in the future. RADM Kloeppel, now CEO and with his wife Debbie Kloeppel founders of Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) private sector non-profit placement organizations for veterans and spouses. CASY provides no-cost employment readiness, vocational training, and one-on-one job placement services for National Guard, Reserves, transitioning service members, and veterans of all branches of service. MSCCN also offers Employment readiness training programs, Job placement solutions and No-cost services to all military-affiliated spouses, retired military spouses and caregivers to war wounded heroes. According to Kloeppel, job openings are plentiful, and veterans are in great demand. The problem is applicant’s, including some vets, lack technical skills and the school systems are not providing the training needed for the current job market. Stan Shoun of Rankin Technical College said they are tailoring coursework to the needs of industry and have a 97% graduate placement record. This workshop supported continuing communications between the military and industry. VADM McCullom and GEN Grass were very pleased with the participant’s interest in veteran employment and requested involvement in future events.
Each year the Missouri Athletic Club and Rotary Club of St. Louis holds a luncheon to honor St. Louis area veterans. The event was held on November 9th and St. Louis native, Admiral Philip S. Davidson, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command was the guest speaker. The MAC/Rotary Club recognize veterans from WWII, Korea and Vietnam. ESGR also presents awards to their volunteers. Numerous veterans/service groups attend and prior to lunch there are exhibitor’s tables for guests to learn more about the organizations. Navy Leaguers Mel Burkart and Lee Metcalf played a major role in the program. Mel as the chairman of the event and master of ceremonies and Lee is the ESGRMissouri Committee chairman. The 2017 Veteran of the Year Award was presented to Corporal George Murphy, USMC and the 2017 Reverend Melvin E. Witt Memorial Award recipient was Major Frank Tucker, USA Retired. Both gentlemen are Vietnam veterans. An ESGR Seven Seas award was given to Caroline Paleti.
The Commissioning Committee for the USS St. Louis (LCS-19) has joined with the Navy, the Navy League St. Louis Council, the Navy Community
Outreach Command the Marinette Marine Shipyard, Lockheed Martin and the St. Louis Business Community to bring to St. Louis educators an additional mechanism to help science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STREAM), come alive in their schools. Phase 1 of the initiative has funded the purchase of 60 underwater robotics kits created initially by the Navy to support STEAM education. Dubbed the Sea Perch program, these simple, affordable kits have spread like a tsunami across the U.S. to invigorate STEAM learning. But this initiative is also allowing St. Louis to take the program to the next level. Not only is it immediately tripling the number of Sea Perch Kits available to area schools, but it has married this program to the building of the USS St. Louis. Shipyard and Lockheed Martin personnel are skyping directly into the classrooms to talk with the children and build on the insights they are getting from the Robotics Kits. They are watching real time as this ship comes to life over the next 14 months and goes into action around the world. Two St. Louis school districts have taken a leadership role in honing and expanding this program in this region. The Pattonville and Parkway School Districts are those two visionary districts. Building on Parkway's ground-breaking SPARK! program and Pattonville's STEAM program they have both "adopted" the USS St. Louis and have pledged to be leaders in the use of Sea Perch to partner with other St. Louis schools in sharing the resources and connectivity of the "USS St. Louis STEAM Initiative". Many veterans continue to give back through this program and ones like it. It also highlights the oftenoverlooked amazing support the DoD and Navy, bring to educators around the country.