June Chapter Quarterly Meeting and Brunch Cancelled
As we are all too painfully aware, the COVID-19 caronavirus pandemic has forced our country and our state into lockdown, requiring the cancellation of our June 13th gathering at the Woodlands Club in Falmouth. At the time of this edition’s publication, it is too early to predict whether or not we will be able to meet for our regularly scheduled quarterly meeting on Saturday, September 12, 2020. This is the first time in our Chapter’s 36-year history that we have had to cancel a meeting and we regret the fact that we cannot gather as comrades and friends in a community setting to enjoy a meal and a program. But this too shall pass and we will meet again, soon we hope. In the meantime, we trust that you are safely maintaining proper distances, and wearing a mask when you do venture out for necessities or medical appointments. Your safety and good health are critical to all of us during these uncertain times. Please be safe and we hope very much to see you in September if it is at all possible.
In this issue you will find a recap of our ROTC/JROTC Program, made possible by the many generous donations provided by our Chapter members. We can all be certain that the awards and scholarships provided will make a significant impression on these deserving young students.
We still have some members who have not paid their $20.00 annual dues. If you are one of them, it is not too late. Please send your check to:
Southern Maine MOAA
PO Box 2145
South Portland, ME 04116-2145
By taking care of this now, it helps avoid calling of individual members to determine if they want to remain with the Chapter. Thank you for your support. (Col Rob McAleer, Membership Chair)
ROTC/JROTC Program Update
By the time members receive this edition, the school year for both JROTC and Senior ROTC for Maine schools will have ended. We ran a detailed listing of all the school units, points of contact, and graduation dates with phone numbers in the last newsletter. As a brief recap, we support eight Junior Programs with National MOAA certificates, signed by our Chapter President, and ROTC medals that the cadets may wear on their dress uniforms. The school cadre award the certificates based on school criteria and present the awards at their annual awards dinner, which vary according to individual school schedules. In addition, our Chapter awards a handsome solid brass compass to these deserving cadets.
For the top award winners for the four Senior Programs at the University of Maine (Army and Navy ROTC), University of Southern Maine (Army ROTC) and the Maine Maritime Academy (Navy ROTC) we also send MOAA certificates, medals, and compasses. In addition, our Chapter provides a $500 scholarship to the top graduates: one for each of the two Army Programs and one each for the two Navy Programs (total of $2,000) each year. (This year there were two finalists from the University of Southern Maine so we awarded $250 each to these two cadets.) These awards and scholarships are made possible through the generous donations made by our own Chapter Members each year. We sincerely thank you all for your support this year and in all the previous years you have been giving. Photos from this year’s winners are included on the following pages. (COL Frank Toderico, ROTC Chair)
2020 Senior ROTC Award Winners – University of Southern Maine
Cadet Isaac E.R. McIntire
CDT McIntire grew up in Grantham New Hampshire and went to Mid Vermont Christian School, Hartford Area Career and Technology Center, and then graduated from Lebanon High School. CDT McIntire was part of a FIRST Robotics team that went to nationals, played soccer, skied and was on the crew team. After graduation CDT McIntire graduated Deans List from Southern Maine Community College with an Associates in Educations. While at SMCC he was a Residents Assistant and organized and managed the campus food pantry. After graduation CDT McIntire Enrolled in the University of Southern Maine in the Environmental Science and Policy program.
CDT McIntire hopes that the Army will allow him to incorporate his love of teaching with service for his country and to allow him to be a mentor and a leader in The United State Army.
During the summer of 2018 CDT McIntire attended Basic Camp at Ft. Knox Kentucky. The following summer he volunteered for the OPFOR program supporting CST 2019 and went to CTLT at Ft. Bliss Texas. While a cadet in the Wildcat Battalion CDT McIntire was an active member in the color guard team and the recruiting programs.
CDT McIntire hopes to be commissioned on active duty as an Air Defense Artillery Officer. He expects to graduate from USM Fall of 2020 and be commissioned in December of 2020.
2020 Senior ROTC Award Winner, Maine Maritime Academy
MIDN 2/C Nicholas Ferré, Maine Maritime Academy
MIDN Nicholas Ferré of Laconia, New Hampshire has consistently demonstrated exceptional performance at Maine Maritime Academy’s NROTC Unit in the Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP). The decision to nominate MIDN Ferré was a very easy one, given his outstanding performance in the SSMP, in the NROTC unit as a whole, within his major and due to his demonstrated financial need. He has been awarded the NROTC Academic Achievement Award three times and made the Dean’s List with a GPA above 3.3 every semester. Four out of five of those semesters he obtained a GPA above 3.5.
In addition to his continued outstanding academic performance, MIDN Ferré has held numerous cadet leadership positions within the regiment of Maine Maritime Academy and the NROTC unit to include: MIDN Supply Officer, MIDN Medical Officer, Squad leader, Platoon leader and Cadet 3rd Assistant Engineer onboard the school’s training ship. In addition to his school commitments, MIDN Ferré has artfully balanced his extracurricular activities. He has participated in Varsity soccer and lacrosse and serves as a member of the Castine volunteer Fire Department, specializing as an Emergency Medical Technician. MIDN Ferré will be commissioning as a Strategic Sealift Officer and will undoubtedly be a great addition to the United States Navy. The leadership at Maine Maritime Academy’s NROTC Unit believes MIDN Ferré to be far and away the best nominee for the Southern Maine Chapter MOAA Scholarship Award from Maine Maritime Academy.
Chapter Board Member Selected as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army
WASHINGTON – The U.S Army appointed a Scarborough, ME resident and Board Member of the Southern Maine Chapter, MOAA, as a new Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army during an investiture ceremony on January 14 at the Pentagon. The Honorable Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the Army, selected Ms. Brenda Pennels to represent Maine.
"I amextremely grateful and humbled to have been selected by the Secretary for this position. The US Army is a tremendous institution providing opportunities for all who have served, those serving and those that will serve. This position provides a platform to tell the Army story from my personal and professional perspective. I look forward to engaging with the leadership and people of Maine to do just that, tell the Army story.”
Ms. Pennels served in the US Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves for 20 years as a Military Police Officer in a variety of command and staff positions, including serving as Provost Marshall for US troops stationed in Honduras for Operation Ahuaus Tara II in 1983. Ms. Pennels is a 1982 graduate of University of Massachusetts Amherst where she was a member of the Early Commissioning Program and Simultaneous Membership Program, earning her commission as a 2LT in 1981. Following her release from Active Duty in 1986 Ms. Pennels continued her career in the Army Reserve, serving many years with the 98th Division (Training) in upstate NY. Ms. Pennels’ civilian career is in health care where she has held leadership positions with several major Pharmaceutical and Medical Device companies. She currently works for Martin’s Point Healthcare based in Portland, Maine as theStrategic Relations Manager for the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan. Ms. Pennels is the surviving spouse of COL (Ret) Toby Pennels and serves as the Surviving Spouse representative for the Fort Drum Retiree Council. She is also an active member of many military service organizations in Maine including the Southern Maine chapter of MOAA, the Joshua Chamberlain chapter of AUSA, and the Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee, serving on the Executive Board for all three organizations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When the news is all doom and gloom – as it has been since the outbreak of the coronavirus – it is hard for even the most optimistic among us to stay positive. It is true that we need to take this virus seriously, as we are and have been doing. It can cause severe illness, death, and drastic long-term changes to how we live and work. It could even cripple the economy. We cannot help focusing on the calamities since that is the only topic covered on local and national news.
But those thoughts are counterproductive, so I did some research on some good news on the COVID-19 FRONT. All the following good news items have been fact checked and determined to be legit! These are all as of March 31, which to me is positive going forward, and there are many more since then.
- China has closed all their temporary hospitals, including the ones in Wuhan.
- Researchers at Erasmus Medical Center, Amsterdam, NL have found an antibody that can fight against the coronavirus.
- Vaccine testing in the US has begun.
- A 106-year-old Grandmother made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for six days in a Wuhan hospital.
- Apple reopened all 42 stores in China.
- The Cleveland Clinic now offers on-site rapid testing that often gets results back within a day.
- A vaccine for the virus is being developed throughout the world.
By the time this newsletter makes it into your inbox the Board of Directors will have had their first virtual board meeting. I am not sure that everyone is looking forward to doing that, but there are benefits. Not only for our Chapter but to our personal lives as well. For example, Cil and I live many miles away from our children and their families, and we are now getting together a couple of times a week virtually. We even have one of our grandchildren, age 6, picking up his Mom or Dad’s phone and calling us to face time at least 4 or 5 times per week. How fun is that? I venture to say that by having virtual board meetings and doing facetime with family we will all be more comfortable communicating with the world around us.
Please continue to protect yourselves and cherish every moment. “Accentuate the positive” and do not listen to the negative. Life is too short! See everyone in September,
CDR, USN (Ret.)
2020 Senior ROTC Award Winners – University of Southern Maine (Cont.)
CDT Nathaniel. R Allen
Originally from Lewiston Maine; CDT Allen has resided all over the central and southern Maine area. He currently lives in Greene, Maine with his Fiancée. He is a 2016 graduate of Leavitt Area High School in Turner, Maine. He was very involved in student council and served as the vice president and student representative for two years. He was also a varsity soccer player, an active thespian, and member of the national honors society.
He is currently a senior at the University of Southern Maine studying Political Science on an International Relations track. During his years at the University of Southern Maine, he has been a volunteer at local schools, and the security council chair for the Maine Model U.N. He has had an invested interest on the United States and its foreign policy and relations with other nations. He hopes to intertwine that experience with his military career. His long-term goal is to obtain a master’s in education and be able to help educate the youth, of the importance of understanding how the U.S is involved globally and how military service can create an impact on that involvement.
Upon entering college at 17 years old, he saw his higher calling and joined ROTC. Upon his sophomore year he was Bravo Company’s Supply Sergeant. His Junior year he served as Bravo Company’s Executive Officer (XO), and in his second semester of his senior year he served as the Battalion Training Officer (S1). After attending Cadet Summer Training (CST), Cadet Allen enlisted into the Maine Army National Guard the end of his junior year of college and serves as an 09R (Officer in Training).
Cadet Allen is to be commissioned into the Maine Army National Guard as a Signal Officer (25A). He is set to commission and graduate from USM in May 2020.
2020 Senior ROTC Award Winners, UMaine
MIDN 2/C Laura Connolly
University: University of Maine, Orono
Home of Record: Boston, MA
Cumulative GPA: 3.11
- Midshipman Commanding Officer Spring 2020 - Responsible for the coordination and well-being of 32 midshipmen.
- Selected to the University of Maine Dean’s List, Fall 2019 with a 3.8 semester GPA.
Midshipman Supply Officer (2018-2019) - Managed the unit bank account, maintained accountability of gear, coordinated fundraising efforts, and led preparation for various unit events.
Member of the unit’s 2018 and 2019 Ranger Challenge team competing in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Member of the University of Maine Women’s Club Soccer team.
Cadet Evan Whitemeyer
Cadet Evan Whitemyer is the son of Bethany and David Whitemyer out of Rockland, MA. He is currently a junior studying Kinesiology with a focus in Exercise Science. CDT Whitemyer is an active participant in the University of Maine Army ROTC program, currently serving as President of the 20th Maine Honor Society, an active participant (previously captain) in the Army/Navy football game, and perennial member of a Zimmerman Fitness Challenge team. CDT Whitemyer is a positive, friendly presence in the battalion and strives to provide his peers and subordinates with the tools they need to succeed in the Army and their academics.
Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (Cont.)
CASAs are a vital part of the Army, promoting good relations between the Army and the public and advising the Secretary about regional issues. Since her appointment in January Ms. Pennels has become involved with recruiting and retention for the Active Army, Army Reserve and National Guard in Maine. In February she facilitated a meeting with the Maine Commissioner of Education to improve the access that Army recruiters have in Maine high schools. Since the COVID-19 outbreak her activities have all moved to a virtual platform where she participates in weekly briefings with the Secretary of the Army and other Senior Army leaders on the impact that the virus is having on Army training and readiness.
CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years of service. The secretary may recognize a civilian aide as a CASA Emeritus after 10 years of service with distinguished service.
MOAA’s big issue in health care is the Defense Health Agency (DHA) plan to eliminate 1,800 positions from military treatment facilities (MTF). During March I participated in our national Association’s annual Storming the Hill, contacting the Maine congressional delegations in Washington – all done by the miracle of Zoom or other internet-based applications. Using MOAA position papers, I asked them to look hard at the DHA’s rationale for the MTF billet reductions; to reconsider the steady increases in TRICARE costs, particularly for prescription drugs; and to support a fair pay raise for our active-duty military. Since then – with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic – MOAA has changed its position on the MTF cuts: stop them completely. I will continue my contacts to advocate for this new position. (COL Bill Hall)