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Thursday, November 4, 1999



IN THE MILITARY

Tapa

Army cleared to
incinerate chemical agent

By Gregg K. Kakesako
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved an Army request to incinerate newly discovered mustard-gas contaminated waste for six months at the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agency Disposal System plant.

The waste products are from propellant charges and ignition cartridges from 4.2-inch mortars and primer tubes, and caps from 105 mm projectiles.

The Army operates the chemical agent and munition destruction plant on Johnston Atoll, 800 miles southwest of Hawaii. Since 1990 the Army has destroyed all of the rockets, bombs, and more than three-quarters of the 4 million pounds of mustard-gas agent stored on the island. More than 160,000 projectiles and 13,000 land mines remain.

The plant expects to complete the destruction of munitions by the end of next year.

Tapa

The Pentagon has posted a new Web site to explain retirement system changes which will take effect next year.

Service members who joined after Aug. 1, 1986, now have a choice of a retirement plan under legislation recently signed into law. Options include a reduced monthly payment if they take a $30,000 lump-sum payment at 15 years. But they will still be required to serve on active duty through their 20th year. Those staying in the "redux" plan will get 40 percent of their base pay after 20 years.

Those foregoing the lump-sum payment will receive a higher annuity at 20 years. They will be eligible for 50 percent of the base pay of their highest three years.

The address of the Web site is pay2000.dtic.mil. By the end of the year it will be an interactive site, and service members will be able to calculate and compare choices they have after 15 years of active duty.

On Jan. 1, all 1.4 million service members will receive a 4.8 percent pay raise -- the largest in 18 years.



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