- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 8, 2007

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My son was in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1996 to 2003, assigned to the Naval District of Washington. After his year on inactive status, he was discharged but never received a DD 214. When he inquired about it, he was told that reservists do not get DD 214’s. Is this true or was he given bad information?

If he is to receive one, how would he go about it?

Thank you,

Carl N.

Calabash, N.C.

Dear Carl:

Your son was correct in that he does not receive a DD Form 214 if he never served on active duty or was mobilized. Inactive duty for training does not qualify as active-duty service.

Your son, having all-reserve time, should have received a DD Form 256 Honorable Discharge Certificate upon separation. If he did not, he can file a Standard Form 180 to request a copy of this record. Information on the process is available at www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/standard-form-180.html.

Shaft notes

• The Sarge is looking forward to joining other members of the National Press Club and their guests at a luncheon featuring Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson.

As President Bush said when he announced Mr. Nicholson’s nomination: “Jim Nicholson is a patriot, a man of deep conviction who has answered his country’s call many times. As a young man from Iowa, raised in modest circumstances, he became a cadet at West Point in the late 1950s and went on to become an Army Ranger and paratrooper.

“As a Ranger, he fought in Vietnam, where he won multiple decorations for bravery in combat, including the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge. After eight years on active duty, he joined the Army Reserves, where he served for 22 more years before retiring as a full colonel.

“Throughout his career, Jim has shown the same honor, integrity and commitment to service that defined his life as a military officer. He and his wife, Suzanne, have given back generously to their community and have been leaders in numerous volunteer causes in their home state of Colorado. Prior to heading VA, he served as the United States ambassador to the Vatican. Jim has worked with the Vatican to advance many vital foreign policy goals, including fighting poverty, hunger, AIDS, expanding religious liberty around the world, and ending the brutal practice of human trafficking.

“As secretary of Veterans Affairs, he leads a department of more than 230,000 employees responsible for ensuring that our nation’s veterans receive the health care and other benefits our country has promised them.”

This luncheon will be April 24 at noon. For additional information, contact Pat Nelson at 202/662-7500.

• The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA), in cooperation with Fort Belvoir Child and Youth and Services, has started a program to address the emotional stress experienced by children during a deployed parent’s absence from home. Through Operation Kid Comfort, volunteers make quilts for children bearing photographic images of their deployed parent.

Marie Balocki, guest director for Fort Belvoir Child and Youth Services; Ketia Franklin, manager of the Fort Belvoir Family Advocacy Program; and the Fort Belvoir eagle presented the first ASYMCA quilts to two military families during an event to kick off April activities celebrating the Month of the Military Child.

• Hundreds of volunteer brass players are needed to perform the 24 notes of taps on May 19, Armed Forces Day, at 11 a.m. local time at national and state veterans cemeteries, as well as American Battle Monuments Commission cemeteries overseas.

“EchoTaps Worldwide,” organized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration and Bugles Across America, will honor American veterans with a worldwide performance of taps. Organizers hope the event will interest brass players in volunteering to perform taps at military funerals of veterans year-round.

Players will form a line through the cemeteries and perform a cascading version of taps. Brass players of all ages may perform at a cemetery of their choice. Schools and other organizations are welcome to participate as performers or supporting volunteers. More information and a sign-up sheet are at www.echotaps.org and www.va.gov/volunteer/spotlight.cfm.

The first “EchoTaps” was held in May 2005, when 674 brass players from 30 states lined 42 miles of road between the Woodlawn and Bath national cemeteries in Elmira and Bath, N.Y. Cascading taps lasted nearly three hours from the first note at Woodlawn to the last at Bath. On Veterans Day last year, players performed “EchoTaps” at 52 national and state veterans’ cemeteries.

For more information, call Bugles member Les Hampton at 607/974-3739 or e-mail [email protected]

• 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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