In the Military
For and about Hawaii's servicemen and women

By Gregg K. Kakesako

See also: For Your Benefit

Annual allowance
for cost of living
will increase 1.4%

Almost all 2 million people drawing military retirement pay or annuities will get a cost-of-living adjustment of 1.4 percent in January. The 2003 cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, works out to $14 a month for each $1,000 in military retirement pay. The COLA is closely tied to the annual increase in the Social Security benefit, which also climbs 1.4 percent next year, according to data released Oct. 18 by the Social Security Administration and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 1999 to 2002, the annual increases were 1.3 percent, 2.5 percent, 3.5 percent and 2.6 percent.


Air Force volunteers from Hickam Air Force Base were cleaning the state's Korean-Vietnam Memorial at the State Capitol yesterday. Air Force Master Sgt. Gerald Schenck was among those cleaning the memorial.

Stars and Stripes reports that more than three months after the Pentagon gave each of the services the go-ahead to resume anthrax inoculations, they are just now getting started. The Air Force has announced it will begin vaccinating "priority II" personnel, or those servicemembers, civilians and contractors assigned to high-risk areas for more than 15 days. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps resumed vaccinations in late September. The Pentagon abandoned its plan to vaccinate all 2.4 million servicemembers and reserve units because of a limited supply. And while the department has hundreds of thousands of doses, officials are barred from releasing an exact number. The vaccination process consists of a series of six shots that should be started at least 45 days before a deployment. Those who receive three of the six shots are considered immune to a potentially fatal exposure, officials said. Those who don't get all six shots before being deployed can continue the program while on deployment.

Island chef Sam Choy will prepare gourmet dishes alongside other delights from local Southern California restaurants at the Go For Broke Educational Foundation's inaugural gala dinner Nov. 9 Aloha at the California Science Center at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Entertainer singer Melveen Leed and local music/TV/food critic for Oceanic Cable Tiny Tadani will entertain the 500 guests expected to participate in a Hawaiian-themed silent auction. Tickets for Evening of Aloha are $100 per person.

The Pentagon has announced a project to test a new "ceremonial bugle," a real instrument loaded with a digital audio device to broadcast the strains of taps, the military's standard for more than a century. At a burial, a member of the honor guard would press a play button on the 5-inch-long device already inserted in the bell of the bugle.

The modified bugle will not act as a substitute for a military musician when one is available. The service branches have been overwhelmed in recent years by the 1999 law requiring an honor guard to be available for every military funeral. The military does not charge families for the service. Most active-duty troops, reservists, retirees and veterans are eligible.

Besides taps, the deceased is usually honored with the firing of a rifle salute and presentation of a folded American flag.

The Washington Times says Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has ordered all military bases in the United States to draw up emergency plans for responding to large-scale attacks by mid-December. The plans are needed on an urgent basis because of concerns that U.S. bases could be attacked in retaliation for any U.S. military action against Iraq.

The services are now putting together emergency plans for dealing with what Pentagon officials call "CBRNE" attacks -- strikes from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-explosive weapons. Some of the plans will call for coordinating base emergency plans with local police and fire departments, and possibly providing chemical and biological weapons suits to all base personnel, both members and their families. Overseas, U.S. military bases also are bolstering security and conducting drills to see how personnel respond to a large-scale terrorist attack.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

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