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  The Cape Fear Chapter MOAA : The Cape Fear Chapter Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) News and Events: What's Happening?



by Rich Underwood

Our chapter was founded on the 22nd of March 1961 at Fort Bragg and became the first affiliate of The Retired Officers Association (TROA) in North Carolina. On January 1, 2003, the National organization changed its name from The Retired Officers Association (TROA) to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

To commemorate the anniversary, the chapter received a handsome certificate (at download bar at right) from National MOAA accompanied by a personal note from Lt Gen Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret) President and CEO. The note reads as follows:

“Dear Colonel Underwood,

Congratulations on achieving 60 years as a MOAA affiliate. During some very challenging times presented by the COVID pandemic, your chapter has adapted to keep the MOAA mission thriving in your community.

Specifically, I truly appreciate your focus on the chapter’s ROTC scholarship program. Your efforts go to the very heart of supporting our men and women in uniform and will inevitably attract a valued membership base to your chapter and our national organization.

Thank you for continuing the commitment to “Never Stop Serving.”


Lt Gen Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)

President and CEO”

We belatedly observed our anniversary during the May 7, 2021 luncheon at the Mash House Restaurant being the first opportunity to meet in person this year.

It is my fervent hope that our chapter will continue doing great work in support of our military, our veterans, and our future military leaders for many more years to come.

05/07/21 21:12/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


by Rich Underwood

MOAA National announced the 2020 Colonel Marvin Harris Communications Award winners, and I am proud to announce that the Cape Fear Chapter maintained its string of now eight consecutive years as a dual 5-Star winner intact.

Congratulations to us for repeating as MOAA communications award winner in the website and eNewsletter platform categories.

All of us may add another feather to our caps!

05/06/21 20:39/ CFMOAA/ Awards/


Rich (L) presents certificate to Ira (R)
Secondary Image
Marty passes trophy to Ira

by Rich Underwood

It was my privilege to present the 2020 Robert F. DeMeter Chapter Service Award to Ira Watkins at our May 4, 2021 Board of Directors meeting held at the Iron Mike Conference Center. Plans were to present the award to Ira at the May 7 luncheon, however, Ira was unable to attend because of personal reasons.

Holding to tradition, last year’s recipient of the award, Marty Williams, passed the rotating DeMeter Trophy to Ira who will retain it for one year. The DeMeter award is the most prestigious award the Chapter can bestow upon one of its members.

The citation on the award certificate reads as follows: “For outstanding service as President Cape Fear Chapter from January 2019 to December 2020. Ira Watkins displayed superb leadership and resolute dedication to his Chapter and the Military Officers Association of America earning a MOAA 5-star Level of Excellence Award and two 5-star communications awards for 2019. All during 2020, Ira was forced to preside virtually, via ZOOM, because of the Corona virus pandemic. He showed noteworthy sensitivity and compassion in interacting with chapter members who struggled with isolation and other related issues, especially with those who lost loved ones to the virus. His leadership over a 2-year period that included the tumultuous 2020 pandemic was extraordinary and clearly worthy of this coveted award.”

Congratulations Ira, you have the eternal gratitude of all our members for your dedicated service and unselfish contributions to the chapter. You are an inspiration to all of us.

05/06/21 16:33/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


Vacancies hurting our chapter!

There is a dire need for volunteers to step up and fill some of the vacant positions on the chapter’s Executive Board. Some of these positions have been vacant for over 2 years, and some have been filled by the same person for as long as 8 years and new blood is needed.

While all the positions are important (they would not exist otherwise) some are more critical than others. The following positions need to be filled post haste:

Secretary – Currently, the most critical vacancy; vacant since 1 January 2021.

2nd Vice President (Programs) – Another critical job; vacant since 1 January 2021 as well.

Surviving Spouse Liaison – A must-have position, a spoke person and advocate for our 30 or so surviving spouses. The position has been vacant for 2 years, but the duties have been performed by Ira Watkins as an additional duty.

Personal Affairs Officer – Another must-have position to advise and assist our members regarding benefits, entitlements, and survivor’s assistance. Position has been vacant for 2 years, but currently filled by Chaplain Atkinson as an additional duty.

Transition Liaison Officer – This position has the potential to be a great recruiting tool for the chapter. Active duty officers transitioning to civilian life can be attracted to a chapter that offers an effective transition program. This position has been vacant for over 2 years and is being filled by George Bond as an additional duty.

Newsletter Editor – An organization must be able to communicate with its members to be successful. A newsletter is one of the most important and effective tools to stay in touch. Don Gersh was the Editor for more than 6 years until he had to lay down his quill because of health reasons. The last issue of the Infogram was published in January 2021.

Webmaster – In this technological age, a website is a most important medium of communication. Juan Chavez has been our webmaster for more than 8 years and suffering from “burnout”. We need a younger, computer savvy type to take over and exploit the website’s potential to a new level.

Any of the above positions can be filled by a regular member or a spouse thereof, or a surviving spouse. Most of the work can be performed from home via telephone and computer. The Executive Board meets physically at the Fort Bragg Iron Mike Conference Center on the first Tuesday of each month, and meetings normally last approximately 2 hours.

The continued shortage of officers to lead the chapter forward constitutes an existential threat to the chapter. We simply cannot continue to keep the chapter afloat like this. We need an infusion of new blood, new ideas and new energy.

As we observe the 60th anniversary of the chapter’s founding, the first affiliate in the state, we should keep in mind all those who came before us and who worked so hard to make the chapter what it is. It is our collective responsibility to keep the organization viable for future generations of military officers.

04/08/21 14:52/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


President Underwood administers oath of office to Jerry Croll (right)

Major (Ret) Gerald "Jerry" Croll

Our prayers for a chapter treasurer were answered, Jerry Croll answered the call and no one was more relieved than President Rich Underwood. Jerry will fill the large void created with the unexpected death of Ralph Hinrichs on 23 February 2021.

President Rich Underwood officially installed Jerry at the monthly Board of Directors meeting on 6 April 2021 by administering the oath of office in the presence of the Board of Directors.

We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Jerry for stepping up to the plate. We wish him the best of success in a position of paramount importance to our organization.

04/07/21 18:42/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


Rich Underwood

by Rich Underwood

I would first like to update you on the status of the Board of Directors. In reality, the board has not changed much because most of us remained in the same positions, and regretfully we have been unable to persuade anyone to volunteer to serve.

For those who do not remember me, I was the 2nd Vice President for Programs, the guy who passed out the name tags as you entered an event. We are looking to fill that position plus the following: Secretary, Treasurer, Surviving Spouse Liaison, Newsletter Editor and Personal Affairs Officer. If you are interested in serving in one of these positions, please contact me or any board member. These positions are critical to the operation of our organization. The current members are doubling up to perform the duties of the vacant positions and we need some relief, so I urge you to step up to the plate.

On a sadder note, we lost a great friend and member. I reported to you the tragic loss of Ralph Hinrichs on February 23, 2021, the serving Treasurer of our chapter. Ralph also served as a volunteer for the Fort Bragg USO, the Highland Chapter of the Red Cross, the Cumberland County Veterans Council, the Boy Scouts of America, and his church. He truly never stopped serving. His sudden loss to COVID-19 left a huge void in our community. He will always be remembered by all who knew him and served with him, he will be dearly missed. Please remember his wife Dorothy and the family in your prayers as they mourn their loss.

The Chapter received a certificate from MOAA National marking the 60th Anniversary of the Cape Fear Chapter as an affiliate of the Military Officers Association of America and celebrating their mission of service. The certificate will be on display at our next meeting on 7 May. If you would like to learn more about the founding history of our chapter there is an excellent run down in the history section of this website (click on bar below). I want to thank Juan Chavez for putting this together to commemorate our 60th anniversary. Remarkably interesting; I was amazed at those who served our chapter over the years. Well worth the read.

We plan on meeting in person at the Mash House restaurant on 7 May for our traditional annual ROTC Scholarship Awards luncheon. NC State Senator Kirk deViere kindly accepted our invitation to be our featured speaker and assist in the presentation of scholarships.

Marty Williams, our 3rd Vice President for ROTC Affairs, has been busy seeing to it that our ROTC cadets at the senior and junior levels are recognized for their efforts to achieve their goal of becoming an officer in one of our nation’s armed forces. This year we will recognize seven scholarship recipients, four senior ROTC and three junior ROTC cadets. The senior cadets are one each from Campbell University, Methodist University, Fayetteville State University and UNC-Pembroke. The junior ROTC winners are from Overhills High School, Terry Sanford High School and Clinton High School.

Because we were unable to meet in March for the annual awards and recognition event, we shall also be presenting the Robert F. DeMeter Chapter Service Award to a most deserving member. As you know, this is the most prestigious award the chapter bestows on one of its own each year. Come and congratulate our 2020 recipient.

I urge you to come out and enjoy some good food, good fellowship, and a good time getting some wonderful young people off to a good start on their quest to serve our country. We’ll also be celebrating our DeMeter Award recipient and our chapter’s 60th birthday! Lots to look forward to. Hope to see many of you on the 7th of May.

On a closing note, the Senate of the United States of America has passed Senate Resolution 110 designating April 5, 2021 as “Gold Star Wives Day.” Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. was established with the help of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945 to assist the families left behind by the fallen members of the Armed Forces of the United States. This day is set aside to honor the contributions and dedication of the members of the Gold Wives of America.



P.S. A reminder to send in your membership renewals if you haven’t done so already.

03/23/21 18:46/ CFMOAA/ Presidents Notes/


Rich Underwood

by Rich Underwood

I would like to thank the membership of the Cape Fear Chapter of MOAA for electing me as president; I am honored to accept the challenge.

Even though the general membership has been unable to meet physically for over a year, I want to assure you that the Board of Directors has not missed a beat. We met virtually most of last year, and for the past two months in person (wearing masks) at the Iron Mike Conference Center at Fort Bragg carrying out the chapter’s business.

While the COVID-19 safety restrictions are still in place we are hopeful that they will be gradually lifted this year. Accordingly, we are moving ahead with plans to have a general membership meeting in March if not May, I will keep you informed.

I pledge to the membership that I will work hard to ensure that we will come out of this stronger than before.

In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy!

02/23/21 19:54/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


We need someone to volunteer to be our Newsletter Editor. Don Gersh who has been our editor for the past 6+ years can no longer do it because of health problems. The January 2021 issue was the last one Don could put together and unless we find someone to takeover, it will sadly be the last.

Wishfully, anyone who had prior experience in editing a publication at any level, e.g., high school, college, military, etc., would be ideal, but practically, we are asking for any literate person who would just like to help and has the enthusiasm (and a computer) to take on the challenge and make this experience a fulfilling one.

The chapter newsletter “Infogram” has been a monthly digital publication, disseminated to the general membership. The software program “Art Explosion Publisher Pro 3” is currently used to compile the publication, but the editor will have wide discretion as to what tools he or she prefers to use.

Anyone interested in taking on this job is requested to call President Rich Underwood at (910) 309-3568.

02/23/21 19:42/ CFMOAA/ General Info/

The Historic 3-Bomber Super Bowl Flyover Was a Huge Missed Opportunity

The Historic 3-Bomber Super Bowl Flyover Was a Huge Missed Opportunity
(Photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B Wrightsman USAF)

by Retired USAF Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, President & CEO, MOAA

It was an inspiring moment when music stars Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan concluded their "The Star-Spangled Banner" duet to fireworks and a history-making flyover: a trifecta of the B-2 Spirit, B-1B Lancer and the B-52H Stratofortress in formation. Their designations added up to 55 in honor of the 55th Super Bowl.

The formation of bombers was a first for such an event and was led by Capt. Sarah Kociuba, one of only 10 female B-2 pilots.

This demonstration of America's precision in defense was awe-inspiring, but you would not know it from commentary and lack of acknowledgment on air.

[RELATED AT MILITARY.COM: How the Air Force Pulled Off the First-Ever Super Bowl Flyover with All 3 Bombers ]

CBS and the NFL failed to give the occasion its due. If you blinked, you might have missed it. What also was missed was the opportunity to spotlight the planning and training to make such moments special to the American public and to international communities enjoying the big game. There is also the significant recruiting opportunity to support the all-volunteer force.

The military-civilian divide is only getting greater, and CBS helped widen the gap by missing the moment. This follows a fall game where Fox commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman lamented about flyovers' "cost of taxpayer dollars." These comments, which appeared in leaked audio, were shrugged off as sarcasm.

The Super Bowl's historic flyover could have been an opportunity to set the record straight. No shortage of information was advanced from the Air Force and reports from local stations and networks.

While the Air Force does perform nearly 1,000 flyovers per year, they double as crucial training for all the airmen and other services.

As a former commander of forces and a past aerial demonstration team member of the Air Force Thunderbirds, I can attest that the demonstration flights are rigorous and demanding. While keeping skills razor sharp, they also engage the public and inspire others to serve.

If the networks and the NFL are going to treat these flyovers as just another routine form of pre-game entertainment, there's a significant lost opportunity in providing a catalyst for one of our nation's sons or daughters to consider serving -- just like Kociuba, who as a young girl, was awestruck at the sight of a B-2 bomber at the Rose Bowl Parade.

Finally, such coverage fails to recognize and thank all those serving in our military for defending our country.

After the Super Bowl, I felt a bittersweet mix of pride in our country and sadness about misperceptions about the role of the military. Our men and women who serve in the uniformed services, our veterans, their families and survivors certainly deserve better.

02/15/21 21:31/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


Check out the first issue!

DFAS has a new Survivor SBP Newsletter with lots of news and helpful information for survivors/SBP annuitants. Learn all about the upcoming changes to the SBP-DIC offset, when you’ll get your tax statements, the new School Certification process, helpful form tools and more!

02/06/21 21:14/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


The first 100 days of the new administration offer an opportunity to address several key advocacy concerns. Read General Atkins’ letter to President Biden at this link.

01/22/21 15:46/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


January 5, 2021

Outgoing President Ira Watkins was presented with a much deserved MOAA Leadership Award in recognition of his extraordinary leadership as Cape Fear Chapter President for the past 2 years. The last year of his tenure was particularly notable because of the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The award was presented by incoming Chapter President Richard Underwood on behalf of Retired USAF Lieutenant General Dana Atkins, President of the Military Officers Association of America.

A copy of the award citation is at download below.

Award Citation
Jan 5, 21/ CFMOAA/ Awards/


January 5, 2021

The newly elected officers for the 2-year term commencing January 2021 were officially installed during the Board of Directors meeting held in the Iron Mike Conference and Catering Center on January 5, 2021.

Because of COVID-19 safety constraints limiting public gatherings to 10 people or less, the ceremony could not be held in the more traditional installation/dinner affair attended by the general membership.

Taking the oath of office were: President Richard Underwood, 1st Vice President George Bond, 3rd Vice President Marty Williams and Treasurer Ralph Hinrichs. Outgoing President Ira Watkins had the privilege of administering the oath.

Congratulations are extended to our new leaders for their willingness to assume the responsibility of leading our chapter forward for the next 2 years.

Jan 5, 21/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


Congratulations to our new leaders!

The following officers were elected by majority vote of the general membership (by mail ballots) to serve 2-year terms in positions indicated effective January 2021.

COL (Ret) Richard Underwood, President

MAJ (Ret) George Bond, 1st Vice President

LTC (Ret) Marty Williams, 3rd Vice President

LTC (Ret) Ralph Hinrichs, Treasurer

Congratulations are extended to these members who volunteered to lead our chapter for the next two years.

Because of COVID-19 safety restrictions limiting gatherings to 10 people or less, the new officers will be officially installed on 5 January 2021 during the monthly CFC Board of Directors meeting at the Iron Mike Conference Center, Fort Bragg.

Dec 23, 20/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


Take action today!

By majority vote of the general membership (by mail ballots) the dues structure for 2021 will remain unchanged, i.e., $20 for regular members; $10 for surviving spouses per annum.

Accordingly, the Membership Renewal Campaign for 2021 is underway with the goal of achieving 100% retention. We are asking our members to submit their renewals as soon as possible. Remit by USPS mail using renewal form at download below together with check payable to “CFC MOAA” and mail to “CFC MOAA, P.O. Box 53621, Fayetteville, NC 28305”; or, online using a charge card and following the prompts.

There are still several chapter members who have not paid their 2020 dues. If you fall in this category, please bring your account up to date by remitting for both 2020/2021.

One of the criteria for earning a 5-Star Chapter award is to achieve 95% or better retention. You can contribute to clearing that hurdle by renewing your membership now.

Dec 23, 20/ CFMOAA/ General Info/


from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service

Congress enacted changes to the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) that will eventually eliminate the offset for surviving spouses who are also receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The changes will take place in three phases.

January 1, 2021 begins the first phase. In 2021, surviving spouse SBP annuity payments issued by DFAS will be reduced (offset) by no more than two-thirds of the amount of DIC (issued by the VA) rather than by the entire amount of DIC, even though eligible surviving spouses will continue to receive the full amount of DIC from the VA.

Beginning January 1, 2022, the second phase, surviving spouse SBP annuity payments will be reduced (offset) by no more than one-third of the amount of DIC (issued by the VA) rather than by the entire amount of DIC, even though eligible surviving spouses will continue to receive the full amount of DIC from the VA.

On January 1, 2023, the SBP-DIC offset will be fully eliminated. That means, beginning in 2023, SBP payments will no longer be offset by DIC. Spouses will receive full SBP (issued by DFAS) and full DIC (from the VA).

For more details and frequently asked questions, see the special SBP-DIC News on the DFAS webpage.

Dec 14, 20/ CFMOAA/ General Info/