“KEEPERS of the DRAGON”ÓÔ
JUNE 2009 SUMMER ISSUE
BOARD OF DIRECTORS______________________________
The Navy Nuclear Weapons Bulletin is produced by the Association’s Board of Directors and is distributed free to NNWA members. Edited by: Dave Cobb
The Presidents Message
Shipmates and Ladies,
The Dallas Reunion will be upon us before we know it, so make your plans and get your reservation forms into Frank Kelly. Lonnie Cucinitti has put together what looks like another great reunion so don’t forget to make your hotel reservations.
The Board of Directors is actively searching for the first NNWA’s “Gray Dragon”. The “Gray Dragon” will be the member, in good standing, who entered the Special Weapons/Nuclear Weapons Program on the earliest date. He will retain the title until he joins the Staff of the Supreme Commander or another member, in good standing, is identified who entered the program at an earlier date. If by chance there are more than one qualified member with the same entry/assignment date then the oldest member in age will be designated the “Gray Dragon”. We are closing in on who we think might be the “Gray dragon” but need to make sure that we select the right individual. Therefore, I need all past members of the NSWU 471st, 802nd and 1233rd to submit their initial assignment date to Treasurer, Frank Kelly at 1087 Frank Kelly Road, Society Hill, SC 29593 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.
The NNWA’s2010 Reunion will be held in Nashville, TN. Shipmate Alex Gabbard will be hosting the reunion and will be providing a short briefing at the Dallas Reunion on his initial plans.
I have appointed Chuck Weber the Chairman of the Nominations and Elections Committee. Please contact him if you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors.
One of our goals for this year was to make available to the membership a Photo Social Roster. I am pleased to announce that we have met that goal and have available the first Edition of the NNWA Photo Social Roster. Remember this is our first edition and undoubtedly will need revision in the short term. I will attempt to keep it up to date provided everyone submits recommended changes and Photo’s to me. The Photo Social Roster will not be shot gunned out to all members. Therefore, anyone of our members who would like to have a copy of the Photo Social Roster please e-mail me at: email@example.com .The Photo Social Roster is a PDF file and quite large (5.98 MBs).
Members with a dial up connection will probably experience a long download time. I can also send the Photo Roster in three separate PDF files or three separate Microsoft power point files. When you request a copy please indicate which type of file you would like to have.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Dallas.
From the Desk of the NNWA Vice President
The guy you would give an arm for, the person you could count on no matter what, the person who would lend you a five to go on liberty. WHAT happened to him? The person who was your shipmate and would lay down your life for. Have you ever tried to find him? He is out there somewhere. I have found one of my old buddies and I hope he will be joining our organization soon, still working on him. It can be as simple as going to a web site called anywho.com and typing his name in. Follow the directions. You may get several hits for his name, but the memories you share are at least worth the cost of a few phone calls. Try and encourage them to join our organization and attend one of the reunions to see who else they may know. Those of you who have attended the reunions know what I am talking about. If you have never attended one, consider it, that name you think might be the person you know might just be. In addition the people who will be attending will appear on our web site so I strongly encourage you to check and see who all is coming. Muster for ALL W DIVISIONS, AUW SHOPS, WPN STATIONS WILL BE HELD, in the Hospitality Room 30 Sep 2009 at 1700. Be there or be square
Navy Nuclear Weapons Association
Hello Shipmates. It is hard to believe that this is our 25th reunion. Each and every one has been different and we have a good time at each one. I hope some of you who have never attended a reunion will make every effort to attend. For those members who can’t travel far, we divide the US into 3rds. So one year we are on the East Coast, then West Coast and finally Central US. (The above may not be the correct order, but we are in each area every 3 years). We have been doing this so that each member doesn’t have to drive thousands of miles to attend. I hope to see a lot of new members in Dallas.
Treasurer Report (May 2009)
As the Treasurer and the keeper of the membership roster, let me welcome our new members who have joined the organization since the last newsletter.
We now have 624 members listed on the membership roster. 444 Members in good standing, 42 Life members (spouses of deceased members), 137 Past members (members that have not paid their dues in the past three years) and 1 Honorary Member (NAAV). Past members will not receive newsletters or reunion information until dues are brought up to date. Membership is $10.00 per year. Past members can be reinstated by sending $10.00 reinstatement plus $10.00 for each year you wish to pay your dues. This is an effective policy due to the cost of mailing newsletters and reunion information. If you are unsure dues are not up to date and receive your newsletter by mail, the date on the upper right corner of the mailing label shows the month and year to which your dues are paid.
If you receive your newsletter electronically and wish to know your dues date, log onto our website (navynucweps.com). The dues date will be listed in the dues date column on the right of your name on the membership roster. Some of our members find it convenient to pay dues several years in advance, this can save you postage and the Treasurer lots of time.
A current membership roster is posted on our web-site. Members not on line may request a hard copy of the roster by calling or writing Frank M. Kelly, 1087 Frank Kelly Rd., Society Hill, SC 29593, PH# 843-378-4026. For our survival it is imperative that we keep our roster and dues up to date. Please review the roster and notify the Treasurer or any member of the board of any changes to your current status.
We now have $13417.90 on deposit with Wachovia (Wells Fargo) and no outstanding Debt.
Frank M. Kelly,
Treasurer and Keeper of the Roster.
Spalling and Exudate
The NNWA Historians Report of June 2009
Earliest Navy Special Weapons Unit
I've asked questions about the formation of the Navy Special Weapons Units and how the people came to be assigned to them since I first heard the term in 1960. Recently I was provided with some of the answers. Dave Fontana, "…a consultant to DTRA and a retired USAF weapons maintenance officer" voluntarily provided the following material. It is taken from unclassified versions of the First History of AFSWP. I thought you might like to read it. I have taken liberties with the data to make it more readable by deleting the many page and chapter references. If anyone is interested in the complete text with references I will send it upon request. If you have information to add or wish to contest any of the history please write. Your comments will be added to the mix.
The Naval Administrative Unit, Sandia Base, was established on 14 Jul 47, to provide administrative and logistical support to Navy personnel assigned to Sandia Base.
The 38th Engineer Battalion, Special was stationed at Sandia Base, NM, with the mission of "assembling and monitoring the bomb".
Unit "D" (Provisional) of the 38th Engineer Battalion, Special, was activated on 1 Sep 48. The unit consisted of the first Navy assembly team graduated from the AFSWP Technical Training Division (on 19 Jul 48); 13 officers, 9 warrant officers, and 16 enlisted men. On 13 Oct 48, in accordance with a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, Unit "D" was redesignated "US Navy Special Weapons Unit No. 471".
(First History editors note): I believe this (471) is a sequence number, not a unit designation] Special Weapons Assembly Organization assigned to the 38th Engineer Battalion, Special, in Dec 48. It was the "second unit composed of naval personnel, all graduates from the Technical Training Group. Note that Chapter 5 of the same history lists only one Navy unit assigned at the end of 1948 to the 8460th Special Weapons Group [successor to the 38th Battalion as of 22 Dec 48 - that was the 471st NSWU. this second unit could possibly be the 803rd NSWU
The 1233rd NSWU graduated from the Technical Training Group and was assigned to the 8460th SWG sometime in Jan-Jun 49. Since the 803rd is not mentioned in the 1949 chronology in Chapters 1/2/3, it could be the unit listed above in the 1948 chronology, however Another chapter of the 1949 history says the 803rd NSWU and 1233rd NSWU "joined the 8460th SWG" on 7 Feb 49 and 19 May 49, respectively. [ed note: These may or may not be their activation dates]
These 3 NSWUs show up on the end-of-year-unit- listing for the 8460th SWG and its successors at Sandia in 1949, 1950 and 1951. After 1951, the histories do not summarize EOY assigned units.
Naval Administrative Unit [Sandia Base] Annex 1, Site JIG, activated 8 Dec 52. [ed. Note: There is a comment in the Jul-Dec 53 history, "...5 Jun 53, at which time the last of the personnel was [sic] ordered out to its base at Yorktown, Virginia"]
The 1953 history states that the following organizations were "formed":
- Naval Administrative Unit [Sandia Base] Annex Number 2, Site LOVE, Lake Mead, NV [ed. note: This somewhat disagrees with information in the Jan-Jun 54 history, which states the unit was activated 11 Jan 54]
- Naval Administrative Unit [Sandia Base] Annex Number 3, Site Oahu [also mentioned as "OBOE"],
Hawaiian Islands, activated 23 Nov 53
471st NSWU was disestablished 15 Jun 53. "Personnel not transferred directly to SWULANT or SWUPAC are transferred to the Naval Administrative Unit, Sandia Base, for ultimate assignment to SWULANT or SWUPAC at later date." [ed. note: Basically, this just meant that students going to Sandia AFWSP courses would be assigned to the NAU, not the permanent training NSWU]
According to the Jan-Jun 53 history, Navy Special Weapons Unit No. 802 was divided into sections known as NSW Unit Divisions A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I [later expanded through Division O]. These divisions were assigned to the Special Weapons Unit Training Group for training for duty with Marines and the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. [ed. Note: There were also NSWU Divisions numbered 471 and 1233, some of which existed after their parent NSWU was disestablished.]
The Jul-Dec 53 history listed the following unit departures / redesignations:
Navy SWU Division 471 G - departed 2 Sep 53 for SWU, Atlantic Fleet
Navy SWU Division 471 J - departed 7 Aug 53 for SWU, Atlantic Fleet
Navy SWU Division 471 K - departed 11 Sep 53 for SWU, Atlantic Fleet
Navy SWU Division 802 C - departed 25 Aug 53 for Midway (CVA 41)
Navy SWU Division 802 G - departed 7 Aug 53 for SWU, Pacific Fleet
Navy SWU Division 802 J - departed 11 Jul 53 for Oriskany (CVA34)
Navy SWU Division 802 K - departed 15 Jul 53 for Essex (CVA 9)
Navy SWU Division 802 O (SWAT-4) - departed Sep 53 for Guided Missile Unit 50, Pt. Mugu, CA
Navy SWU Division 1233 E (SWAT-3) - departed Sep 53 for Guided Missile Unit 50, Pt. Mugu, CA
Navy SWU Division 1233 G - departed 15 Jul 53 for SWU, Pacific Fleet
Navy SWU Division 471 F redesignated MARTSAT-1 on 15 Jun 53.
Navy SWU Division 802 F redesignated MARTSAT-2 on 15 Jun 53.
Navy SWU Division 802 O to be redesignated SWAT-4, but official orders for the redesignation not received.
Navy SWU Division 1233 E redesignated SWAT-3 on 24 Sep 53.
Navy SWU Division 1233 H redesignated CVA 9-15 on 24 Sep 53.
Navy SWU Division 1233 M redesignated MARTSAT-3 on 24 Sep 53.
Navy SWU Division 1233 O redesignated SWAT-6 on 24 Sep 53.
Navy SWU Division 471 O redesignated SWAT-5 on 16 Nov 53.
Navy SWU Division 1233 C redesignated CVA 41-5 on 16 Nov 53.
Navy SWU Division 1233 D redesignated CVA 41-6 on 16 Nov 53.
Navy SWU Division 1233 F redesignated CVE-1 on 16 Nov 53.
Navy SWU Division 1233 H redesignated CVA 9-15 on 16 Nov 53.
Navy Special Weapons Unit No. 802 deactivated 15 Jul 53. Special Weapons Unit Pacific Fleet [SWUPAC] commissioned same date. [ed. note: There is no indication that SWUPAC replaced or superseded NSWU 802]
Naval Administrative Unit Annex 3 "OBOE" completed training and departed Sandia Base PCS on 25 May 54 for Naval Ammunition Depot, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands.
The Jan-Jun 54 history listed the following unit activations/deactivations and departures:
CV 9-16 activated 8 Mar 54
CVE-2 activated 5 Apr 54
SWAT 5 departed 18 May 54 for Guided Missile Unit 50, Pt. Mugu, CA
SWAT 6 departed 18 May 54 for Guided Missile Unit 50, Pt. Mugu, CA
CV 9-15 departed 25 Feb 54 for SWUPAC
CVA 41-5 disestablished 15 May 54
CVA 41-6 disestablished on 15 May 54
The Jul-Dec 54 history listed the following unit activations/deactivations and departures:
CV 9-16 departed 25 Feb 54 for SWUPAC
CVE-1 redesignated BETTY ONE on 15 Oct 54
CVE-2 redesignated BETTY TWO on 15 Aug 54
The Jan-Jun 54 History defines the terms used above:
MARTSAT - Marine Tactical Support Assembly Team
SWAT - Submarine Warhead Assembly Team
CV/CVA - Aircraft Carrier Team
CVE - Munition Carrier Ship
[ed. note: The term "NSWU Division" is not longer used beginning in Jan 54]
Mike Snyder (NNWA Historian)
58 West Crescent Drive
San Rafael, CA 94901
NNWA Service Officer Report
Fellow Dragon Keepers,
Below are a few current veteran and retiree topics of interest. As always, if you have any questions or needs feel free to drop me a line.
Yours in service
Registered Veterans Service Officer
DFAS ERROR CORRECTED - Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) acknowledged another computer error preventing 39,000 retirees from receiving VA Retro Pay. The necessary changes were made and the retirees will be paid by 15 JUL. As with the original batch of errors, some veterans are owed by DFAS, some by VA and some by both agencies. Contact DFAS directly at 1-800-321-1080 for status on your account..
VA BLUE WATER CLAIMS - On 5 MAY 09 Rep Bob Filner (D-CA-51st) introduced the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009 (H.R.2244). This legislation would clarify the legal presumption of exposure to Agent Orange for veterans who served in the vicinity of Viet Nam. The Department of Veterans Affairs curently uses a conservative interpretation of 38 US Code Section 1116 to mean "boots on the ground" which excludes most Navy and Air Force personnel who have Agent Orange related issues but who cannot prove "boots on the ground."
H.R.2254 would clarify this section by redefining a Viet Nam veteran as one who during active military, naval, or air service (a) served in the Republic of Vietnam (including the inland waterways, ports, and harbors of such Republic, the waters offshore of such Republic, and the airspace above such Republic) during the period January 9, 1962 - May 7, 1975; (b) served in Johnston Island during the period April 1, 1972 - September 30, 1977; or (c) received the Vietnam Service Medal or the Vietnam Campaign Medal. If you would like to see this legislation passed you should contact your legislator and ask that he/she sign on as a sponsor or cosponsor to the bill. One easy way to do this is to go to:
where you will find a preformatted message that you can use as is or edit the text of to your personal style and forward automatically by entering your zip code and contact data.
TRICARE SERVICE CENTER - A Tricare customer service center is operated by the regional contractors and Tricare Area Offices in each Tricare region. The TSC can help you find a doctor for specialty care authorizations and can provide claim-processing information. Services provided by the TSC include, but are not limited to:
· Tricare program and eligibility information - Tricare Prime enrollment forms
Many TSCs are collocated within an MTF, although some are freestanding on military installations and in the community. You can find Tricare Service Center locations at http://www.tricare.mil/contactus/.
In general, Tricare can cover skilled nursing care, and not custodial care. Care must be provided by a Tricare-authorized provider, such as a skilled nursing facility. Note that nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, etc., are excluded from Tricare coverage. Skilled nursing care is normally provided for rehabilitative services, with projected improvement goals. Custodial care is defined by law as providing assistance with the activities of daily living (bathing, dressing and eating) and can be provided safely and reasonably by a person who is not medically skilled. It is very important to remember that Tricare For Life (TFL) is the last payer to all other health insurances. Beneficiaries should first look to Medicare if they are eligible, and/or their other health insurance (OHI) if they have any, to pay for the skilled nursing. After their Medicare 100-day skilled nursing facility benefit is exhausted, TFL may then begin to cover the services as the primary payer, if the services continue to be considered skilled nursing care and the beneficiary does not have OHI. The doctor makes the determination about whether skilled nursing or custodial care is needed. However, if the Medicare benefit is terminated because the care is no longer considered skilled, but rather custodial, TFL will not cover charges for the care. Custodial care is not a Tricare covered benefit, just as it is not a Medicare covered benefit, nor a covered benefit of most civilian health plans.
There are options, though, for covering custodial care in a nursing home setting. While Tricare does not cover long-term care, you may purchase long-term care insurance through commercial insurance programs or through the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP), which some retired service members may be eligible for. Long-term care primarily involves providing help with activities of daily living (walking, personal hygiene, dressing, cooking, feeding, etc.) or supervision of someone who is cognitively impaired. For information about coverage alternatives, visit the Tricare beneficiary page on long-term care at www.Tricare.mil/mybenefit/jsp/Medical/IsItCovered.do?kw=Long%20Term%20Care&x=1&y=1.
For more information about TFL refer to www.Tricare.mil/mybenefit/ProfileFilter.do?&puri=%2Fhome%2Foverview%2FPlans%2FForLife.
MEDICARE PART B PREMIUMS - New Social Security recipients and upper-income seniors could face a steep increase in their monthly Medicare premiums for the next two years, according to an analysis released 26 May by a nonprofit health research group. Millions more will see their finances squeezed if their premiums for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage go up during that period. Congress could intervene to soften the blow, but doing so would be costly at a time of ballooning deficits. The study, by the Kaiser Family Foundation, points out that Social Security and Medicare trustees project no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to Social Security benefits in 2010 and 2011, and only a tiny one in 2012. The COLA is pegged to an inflation index, and the economic recession has erased increases in the relevant index.
The first group that will be hit by these increases, without receiving any COLA to offset the pain, are new enrollees in Social Security, Kaiser said.
The second affected class comprises relatively affluent Medicare beneficiaries — those with adjusted gross incomes above $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for married couples, who already must pay a surcharge for their Medicare coverage.
The final group, the largest of those affected, is composed of low-income seniors. But they will not have to pay the increased Medicare Part B premiums themselves. Instead, the Medicaid program, funded jointly by state and federal governments, will cover the increase. But that means higher Medicaid costs for those governments.
VA DENTAL TREATMENT - A dental insurance program for veterans, modeled after retiree dental insurance provided under Tricare, is an optional health program being pushed by Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. For premiums of between $14 and $48 a month, depending on the location and selected benefits, 7.9 million veterans could have access to a network of dentists, Burr said.
SPACE "A" INFO - Recent changes in the military space available (Space-A) travel regulations have increased the number of dependents traveling without their sponsor. As a result, there is a heightened competition for Space-A seats, especially to and from Europe, Hawaii and the Far East during the summer months. The Space-A discussion board, found at www.pepperd.com can help you keep track of the last category moved at most of the major chokepoints in the Space-A system. If you are not up to speed on travel categories check out the breakdown at Frequently Asked Questions page
FLTCIP - As many as 155,000 civilian and military employees and retirees enrolled in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) can expect their premiums to increase by as much as 25% later this year or early next year. The increases will affect most of those who are enrolled in the program’s “automatic compound inflation protection” option. Under this option, enrollees’ benefit payments increase 5% annually, but premiums do not regularly increase. Under the new policy, however, a range of premium increases will go into effect, depending on the age at which an enrollee first signed up for coverage:
Enrollees who first purchased coverage at age 65 or younger face a premium increase of 25%.
Those who purchased coverage between the ages of 65 and 70 face smaller increases.
Those who purchased at age 70 or older face no increase.
There will be no premium increase for 69,000 employees and retirees who enrolled in the “future purchase” option, in which benefits and premiums increase every two years.
The size of the increase varies based on the enrollee’s age. Enrollees will have time before rates increase to decide whether to stay with the current benefit structure at a potentially higher premium, cut their benefits to keep their premiums at current rates, or switch to the new benefit structure and its higher premiums without underwriting.
VA HEARING AIDS/EYEGLASSES - The Department of Veterans Affairs must provide audiology and eye care services and hearing aids and glasses to military veterans with any compensable service-connected disability. Also, the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996, changed eligibility to allow VA to furnish prosthetic appliances to veterans. However, that law further provided that VA could not furnish sensori-neural aids (hearing aids and eyeglasses) except in accordance with guidelines. Subsequently, the Department established such guidelines. It is now VA policy that all enrolled veterans and those veterans exempt from enrollment are eligible for medical services that include diagnostic audiology and diagnostic and preventive eye care services, and that the prescription and provision of hearing aids and eyeglasses must be furnished to all eligible veterans in accordance with the parameters and criteria defined in VA DIRECTIVE 2008-070 dtd 28 OCT 08. Full details of the directive can be viewed at
TRICARE USER FEE - The Obama administration’s first defense budget will not seek an increase in Tricare fees, according to a White House statement. However, the promise not to touch Tricare is good for only one year. Stay tuned.
RETIREE LIFE EXPECTANCY - Results of a new study provide more evidence that participating in volunteer activities may add years to an older person's life. Volunteering, the investigators say, may improve health outcomes by expanding retirees' social networks, increasing their access to resources and improving their sense of self-worth. Sign up for something today.
VA HEADSTONES & MARKERS - Headstones and markers are furnished to eligible spouses and family members of veterans who are interred in a national, military post/base, or state veterans cemetery. For veterans in columbaria inurnment, niche markers are available. Public Law 110-157 allows the VA to furnish Government markers for the graves of veterans who died after 1 NOV 90, regardless of whether the grave is already privately marked. Under previous law, when the grave was already marked, only veterans who died on or after 9/11 were eligible. Claim instructions will be posted at
Navy Nuclear Weapons Association
Service Officer’s Report June 2009
2009 Board of Directors Nominations Notice
The NNWA Bylaws require that half of our Board of Directors positions must stand forelection each year.
This year there are again five positions up for election. If you wish to nominate someone for the Board, please submit the nomination to me by email at NNWASO@PTD.NET and I will contact the individual to confirm their acceptance of the nomination.
Nominations will again be opened at the annual business meeting and additional nominations may be made from the floor then. All nominees will need to be present at the meeting OR they may submit a letter in advance to the Board stating that they are willing to accept the nomination for a position on the Board if they are unable to attend the meeting. Voting will occur under new business at the business meeting. Following the business meeting, the Board then meets to elect its open officer positions.
I have contacted our current Board members regarding their interest in remaining on the Board. The Board may make nominations for their continuance at the annual business meeting.
There are two conditions precedent to being elected to the Board of Directors:
Again, the strength of our association lies in the strength of our members who are willing to volunteer their time to further our association’s goals. If you are personally willing (or know another member who may be willing) to serve our association, please do not hesitate to contact me.
For planning purposes, I will need to receive your nominations by the end of August.
Chairman, Nominations & Elections
Navy Nuclear Weapons Association
There continues to be an increase in the number of hits to our website. Our average number of hits per day, over the last seven years, is 35.7. I think that this is a respectable number for a site that is specialized as ours. I hope that when you view the web site that you have a good trip down Memory Lane and remember fondly those “God Old Days” of our youth.
If you have any suggestions for our web site, please pass them on. And keep the stuff coming. We welcome photos of patches, cruise books for W-Divisions and other memorabilia.
If you have physical items you wish to contribute, check with Mike Snyder, our erstwhile Historian.
Ray C. Margeson