By Mark Overberg, Deputy Chief, Army Retirement Services
On December 12, 2014, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh approved a two year extension of the charter that guides the work of the council of Retired Soldiers that advises Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. Every two years since Army Chief of Staff Gen. William W. Westmoreland created the Council in 1971, the Army has reaffirmed the need for the council and renewed this charter. What was not routine about this renewal was the change in the name of the Council.
The Chief of Staff, Army Retiree Council is now the Chief of Staff, Army Retired Soldier Council. It’s a small change, but words matter. The Council Co-Chairs, retired Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace and retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, requested the change to reflect the Soldier for Life mindset.
“We’re really Retired Soldiers, not retirees,” said retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Preston. “If you think about it, we’ve been Soldiers all of our adult lives. The only difference is that we’re now serving in a different role. We still support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. We can still be recalled to active duty, and many hundreds have been over the last 13 plus years of war. Our role now is to tell our Army stories. To connect America with its Army where we live. To influence young people to serve in the military as we did. We’re still Soldiers.”
The Council recently concluded its annual meeting at the Pentagon and advised Gen. Odierno about the most pressing issues of concern to the retired community. The Council’s complete report, detailing 30 issues that the Council reviewed, is available on the Council’s website at http://soldierforlife.army.mil/retirement/retireecouncil.