(Senate - December 08, 2004)

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[Page S12051]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, November 11 marked the 80th anniversary of 
the Fleet Reserve Association, FRA, whose original charter was issued 
in Philadelphia, PA. FRA is the oldest and largest professional 
military organization representing the men and women serving in, or 
retired from the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
  The Fleet Reserve Association is named after the Fleet Naval Reserve 
program, which allows sailors with 16 or more years of active enlisted 
service to separate from the Navy, but remain ``on call'' for periods 
of national emergency.
  From its inception, FRA's purpose was to advocate for sailors' 
rights. The association started with the efforts of a few enlisted men 
in 1919, who pooled their monies to send two Navy chief petty officers 
to testify before Congress on pay reform. Since that time, FRA has 
established an enviable track record of promoting favorable legislation 
for members of the Naval Service.
  In 1923, FRA's efforts resulted in legislation that allowed WWI 
veterans to count their commissioned or warrant service toward time 
requirements for transfer to the Fleet Naval Reserve.
  In the 1930's, the FRA helped with legislation that eliminated the 
requirement for enlisted retirees to pay for rations while hospitalized 
in Government treatment facilities, mandated death gratuities be paid 
to the estate of recalled servicemembers who died on active duty, 
authorized commissary privileges for military widows, and restored 
reenlistment bonuses.
  FRA's ``Hospital Rights'' and ``Widow's Equity'' studies also helped 
foster the creation of the Civilian Health Program of the Uniformed 
Services, CHAMPUS, in 1966 and the adoption of the Uniformed Services 
Survivor Benefit Program, USSBP, in 1972.
  FRA's 1999 study on military pay also set the stage for the targeted 
pay hikes for mid-grade enlisted personnel over the last few years, the 
repeal of the 1986 military retirement system (Redux), authorization of 
sea pay for junior enlisted personnel, and the reduction of additional 
``out-of-pocket'' housing costs for servicemembers living in civilian 
  On top of its award-winning legislative advocacy work, the FRA 
continues to promote community service at their 300-plus branches 
located throughout the world. In 2004 they awarded $90,000 in college 
scholarships and $75,000 to worthy students who competed in the FRA's 
Americanism Essay Contest.
  Mr. President, I thank the Fleet Reserve Association for its eight 
decades of service to the men and women of the Navy, Marine Corps and 
Coast Guard. As we close the 108th Congress, and look ahead toward the 
109th Congress, I wish the Fleet Reserve Association continued success 
and look forward to working with them to support the past, present, and 
future member of all of the military services who protect our great