- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2005

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

As an alumnus of Chi Gamma Iota, the XGI Fraternity of Penn State Harrisburg, I want to thank you for your support to name the new Big Spring High School in Newville, Pa., after Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart. Sgt. Shughart was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions in Mogadishu, Somalia, which were featured in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

The school board rejected the latest request to honor Randall Shughart at their meeting on March 7, and it appears this effort will be a prolonged struggle. However, our members feel more should be done to honor this great war hero, particularly something that does not involve the superintendent of schools and the school board members who are so strongly opposed to his memory.

Sarge, I know in the past you were successful in renaming the Rockville, Md., post office after Lt. Everett Alvarez, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for eight years. This was a wonderful effort on your behalf and now we hope you can do it again.

The alumni and current members of the XGI Fraternity of Penn State Harrisburg respectfully request that you spearhead the naming of the Newville Post Office after Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart, the fourth recipient of the Medal of Honor in 140 years from central Pennsylvania. Thank you again for your continued support for America’s veterans.


Silver Spring

Dear R.S.:

The citizens of Newville should hang their heads in shame for selecting such an insensitive superintendent and the lackluster school board who are adversely influencing their children.

I have been in contact with Rep. Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania Republican, urging him to introduce legislation along with the full support of the entire Pennsylvania delegations to the House and Senate to name a post office in honor of such a distinguished American hero. I have shared the following information with the staff of Mr. Shuster:

1. Select the appropriate post office in the jurisdiction of the sponsoring member.

2. Be sure that the facility has not already been named — often people just say post office without knowing that it has been named for someone, or say the street name and then “post office” (as in Main Street Post Office) without knowing it has been named. This should be verified by the Postal Service.

3. It helps to have the person whose name is considered for the naming of the facility to have strong community ties. Be sure that the spelling of the person’s name is exact and whether that person would like to use a middle initial, full name, etc.

4. It is important to have the exact address of the facility.

5. The Government Reform Committee, which has jurisdiction in the House for postal naming bills, has a policy that all members from the state in which the post office is to be named must sign on as co-sponsors. It is strongly suggested that the members sign on prior to introduction of the bill; this saves a lot of time and uncertainty. Such bills can go up to the floor under suspension or by unanimous consent if both majority and minority agree.

Shaft notes

The sarge is looking forward to joining the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) as they pay tribute to individuals and organizations that strongly support military men and women and their families in promoting a strong national defense. The awards will be presented April 6 in a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

The year’s awards will be given to Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat; Reps. C.W. Bill Young and Jeff Miller, Florida Republicans; and congressional staff members Michael Higgins and Debra Wada.

Mrs. Landrieu and Mr. Miller will receive the Col. Arthur T. Marix Congressional Achievement Award for spearheading legislation to phase out the Survivor Benefit Plan “widow’s tax” that reduces annuity payments to surviving military spouses by more than one-third when they reach age 62. Col. Marix founded MOAA in 1929.

Mr. Young will receive the Marix Award for his years of leadership in ensuring funding for military “people programs” as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Being honored with the Col. Paul W. Arcari Meritorious Achievement Award are Mr. Higgins and Ms. Wada, professional staff members for the House Armed Services Committee, for their work on a wide range of issues that include pay equity, health care and the Survivor Benefit Plan. Col. Arcari was MOAA’s director of government relations for 14 years, retiring in 2001.

MOAA has awarded the Marix and Distinguished Service Awards since 1997. The congressional staff member award began in 2000.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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