- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 1, 2007

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

What is the correct formula for determining the cost of one’s Survivor Benefit Plan coverage?

George F.

Lehigh Valley, Pa.

Dear George:

My sources tell me you should take 6.5 percent of the annuity base amount and that will constitute your Survivor Benefit Plan premium. The base amount can be as low as $300 or as much as the full value of retired pay. Keep in mind that the costs are imposed before retired pay is taxed, so the relative cost is actually lower than 6.5 percent.

There is another method of calculating SBP costs, which is even cheaper if the retiree elects a small amount of coverage but becomes more expensive the more coverage is elected.

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I am writing to you in an effort to spread the word about an event I am organizing this year. The GI Film Festival will be held Memorial Day weekend, May 26 to 28, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in the District.

This will be the first film festival in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of American servicemen and -women through the medium of film. Our Hollywood advisory team includes actors Chuck Norris and Ernest Borgnine, along with directors Ron Maxwell, John Milius and John Dahl, among others. We are in final discussions with Gary Sinise about screening “Forrest Gump” and serving as a guest of honor at our VIP reception. Our military advisory committee includes decorated senior ranking military officials.

The festival will present films from new and established international and domestic filmmakers that honor the heroic stories of the American armed forces and the worldwide struggle for freedom and liberty. Some of the films screened will be fan favorites. Others will be screened for the first time. All will in some way express the courage and selflessness of our fighting men and women and the value of their work.

The GI Film Festival is open to filmmakers of every experience level, from first-timers to veteran directors and producers. Prizes will be awarded to winners of three main categories: feature, documentary and film shorts.

In addition, the film festival will present panel discussions, educational forums and special events, including:

• Movie screenings by international and domestic filmmakers.

• An awards presentation featuring a special celebrity major motion picture screening.

• A “War Stories” educational panel featuring personal accounts of heroism from the front lines.

• A VIP keynote address with a cocktail reception.

• A press junket, exhibitions, Hollywood “meet and greets” and more.

Brandon L. Millett


GI Film Festival

[email protected]

Dear Brandon:

Thanks for the heads-up. I am sure my readers will appreciate this stellar event.

Shaft notes

The Sarge is looking forward to joining the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) when it presents awards to individuals and organizations that strongly support military men and women and their families as they promote a strong national defense.

The awards will be presented April 17 at a ceremony on Capitol Hill in the District.

Among the recipients will be accomplished film, theater and television actor and director Gary Sinise, star of “CSI: New York.” He will receive the MOAA Distinguished Service Award for his support of military people.

He has completed 22 United Service Organizations tours across the United States and around the world, and will be making a fourth USO trip to the Persian Gulf region. Outside the USO, he has performed many benefit concerts for military people and veterans. He is also the national spokesman for the American Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial and co-founded Operation Iraqi Children, which provides educational materials to students in Iraq through donations from the American people.

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 [email protected]

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