**Pioneering Efforts of the Retired Affairs Committee**
By CWO3 (Ret) Jared Heintz, Past President
On the evening of October 26, 2023, the Retired Affairs Committee of the Chief Warrant and Warrant Officers Association (CWOA), USCG, took a significant step towards addressing the concerns and needs of its retired members. Under the competent leadership of Committee Chair, CWO (ret) Jared Heintz, and in the company of CWO (ret) William Iozzino, CWO (ret) Jim Stoffer, and Ms. Aniela Szymanski, our Chief Policy Officer, the committee had its inaugural meeting.
This was no ordinary gathering – the first of many such engagements aiming to amplify the voice of our retiree community.
Ms. Aniela Szymanski provided invaluable insights on Capitol Hill's current advocacies. It was noted that while the CWOA plays an active role in these discussions, our association's involvement has primarily been through The Military Coalition. As of this meeting, the CWOA had yet to assume an official position. For those keen on the specifics, the provisions being discussed are detailed in appendices labeled TMC FY 2024 NDAA Provisions Engrossed_18Aug2023 and FY24 NDAA TMC Conferees Letter-Final Draft – 20230822.
This prompted a rich discussion. The committee unanimously agreed on the importance of the CWOA establishing its official stance on retiree matters. And as a starting point, we deliberated on the pressing need to communicate with our retirees to understand their concerns better. We're in the early stages of conceptualizing a comprehensive survey, with focus areas including access to ID Card Facilities, burial rights at Arlington National Cemetery, specific Tricare benefits issues, and limitations faced with Veterans Administration Healthcare. We're also keen on ensuring our survey doesn't restrict responses, hence the idea of including a fill-in-the-blank section.
The plan for disseminating this survey is two-fold: either integrating it into our newsletter or providing a convenient online link. We believe that this proactive approach will enable us to be more in tune with the needs of our retiree community and act upon them more effectively.
Looking ahead, we aim to sustain the momentum by convening monthly. The tentative schedule pegs our sessions for the last Thursday of each month, which sets the stage for our next engagement on November 30th, 2023, at 19:00.
As our inaugural meeting drew to a close, William Iozzino made the motion to adjourn, promptly seconded by Jim Stoffer. By 20:05, our historic first meeting came to its conclusion.
In my capacity as the Retired Affairs Committee Chair, I wholeheartedly approve of the proceedings and the promise of what's to come. Together, we are poised to make a significant difference in the lives of our retirees, and this is just the beginning.
The views expressed in the articles in this publication are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizations for which they work, CWOAUSCG, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.