- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dear Sgt. Shaft,

I’m currently an E-5 on active duty in the Army and reenlisted in January or February for three more years. This is my third or fourth reenlistment. I want to stay in long enough to have everything paid for, but I am ready to move on with my life and start something new.

My boyfriend and I want to have a child, and I know I can get out for being pregnant. I’m wondering if I will still have some sort of benefits through the VA or if I forfeit those benefits by getting out.

I wouldn’t be fulfilling this current enlistment if I did get out due to pregnancy. I don’t really know where to go to get the answers and make the right decision. — Donna via the Web

Dear Donna,

By now, the Department of Veterans Affairs should have responded to your inquiry with the explanation that benefits generally are based upon discharge from active military service under conditions other than dishonorable.

Since your inquiry was concerning health care, you likely were referred to the VA Health Resource Center’s toll free number, 877/222-8387, for further assistance.

Shaft Notes

The Sarge is looking forward to joining the Military Officers Association of America in discussing issues of wounded warriors and their families at the fourth annual Defense Forum Washington conference, held Sept. 10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill.

The forum, “A New Normal: How is the War Within Transforming Our Force and Families,” is co-hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute.

The day-long forum features talks by Sen. Jim Webb; Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs; and several panels with key leaders, wounded troops, and family members.

Panel topics include “Navigating Recovery: Are We Meeting Needs and Expectations,” “Confronting the Reintegration Process — Embracing the Experience” and “The New Normal: Hope for the Future.”

Registration for the DFW is at www.defenseforumwashington.com.

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Congratulations to Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis, Florida Republican, who was given the L. Mendel Rivers Award of Excellence from the Air Force Sergeants Association for his support of the nation’s military, veterans and military families:

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