Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay: A Message from the President

U.S. Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston talks to U.S. Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Joint Security Station Loyalty, eastern Baghdad, Iraq, March 22, 2009. Preston discussed issues of interest to the enlisted Soldier, such as changes to the Army noncommissioned officer education system, Army force structure, and the Army's stop-loss policy. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. James Selesnick/Released)

As you know, we’re currently running a multi-part series on Retroactive Stop Loss Pay, with an introductory essay and valuable insights from the Army and Air Force so far.  We’d like to thank the Department of Defense for their cooperation in bringing this essential information to our audience.

President Obama recently released the video below to emphasize the importance of the October 21 deadline.  That’s almost exactly one month away.  Military members whose service was involuntarily extended or whose retirement was suspended between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, are entitled to a retroactive payment of $500 for each month of extension.

As Admiral Mike Mullen explains in an open letter on the site, “The application process is simple and straightforward. No strings attached. But once the deadline passes, we cannot by law extend it. So jump online and check it out at: www.defense.gov/stoploss.  It’s your money.”

Stay tuned for more from the other branches of the military, and help get the word out to anyone you know who might be eligible.

Meet Team USO’s Scott Ransom

Born into a US Navy family, Scott Ransom served in both the US Coast Guard 1978-1988 and US Army National Guard 1988-2003. He finished the Ironman Wisconsin in 10 hours and 39 minutes. (Photo courtesy of Ransom family)

You just won your age group at Ironman Wisconsin…describe what that feels like. I actually got to learn about it “gradually.”  When I first crossed the finish line and met up with my family, the official results had me in 2nd place in my Age Group.  I was still pretty happy with that and thought it would likely get me to Kona.  Later that evening one of the results websites was showing me in 1st place. I went to bed not knowing.  Next morning it was official…there had been a mixup and yes, I was 1st.  But it’s obviously quite satisfying.  Still, I know very well that anyone who finishes that race worked incredibly hard and deserves enormous credit.  Probably the best part of the day was going back to the race course and watching and cheering the other finishers.  They are so happy, and the crowd so enthusiastic.  It really makes you appreciate the human spirit.

This qualifies you for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii correct? Will you be making the trip next month? I’m going to Kona, but not until 2011.  Oct 8th 2011.  Ironman Wisconsin is the first race that qualifies for Kona the following year.  It would be too much to go race an ironman again in less than a month.  Two weeks before Wisconsin, there was Ironman Canada and Ironman Louisville.  Those folks qualify for the 2010 Kona…about 6 weeks after.  I can’t even imagine going again that soon.

How did you get started competing in triathlons? I was a swimmer as a kid.  As a young adult, I started running…did a few marathons.  That’s really tough on the legs.  So I later switched to triathlons to “spread the pain around better.”

Why did you choose to raise money for the USO and support our troops? Respect for the troops!  I was in the Army National Guard, though I retired without ever being sent anywhere.  But I know Guardsmen that were activated and deployed.  I can only imagine the danger, isolation, inconvenience, and homesickness they have.  I believe the USO is a great service to them in giving them a piece of home and making sure they know their service is appreciated.

What advice would you give people who want to do something to support the troops? Do something!  Supporting the USO is a great way.  Also, help out the family of a deployed servicemember.  Asking “if there’s anything I can do…” is not enough.  Stop by with a meal.  Tell them you are going to cut their grass on Saturday.  Tell them you’ll watch the kids some evening.  You get the idea.

What’s next for Scott Ransom… more triathlons…another challenge? After some down time, I’ll start training again for Kona.  I’ll stick with triathlons for a while.

Ransom is a 2010 Ironman Wisconsin Age Group Winner and has qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI, in 2011.  Join TeamUSO on Facebook for the latest info and updates!