Georgia Council of MOAA
Georgia Council of MOAA Georgia Council of MOAA
Georgia Council of MOAA

Georgia Council of MOAA

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MAJ David Depree-President of Athens Chapter presenting induction of Col Shane Kimbrough into Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame







Senate Confirms First Black 4-Star Marine General

Senate Confirms First Black 4-Star Marine General

Lt. Gen. Michael Langley, talks with Marines in the courtyard of Marine Corps Security Force Battalion barracks at Kings Bay, Ga.. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zachary D. Behrend/Navy)

This article by Jonathan Lehrfeld originally appeared on Military Times, the nation's largest independent newsroom dedicated to covering the military and veteran community.

The Senate officially confirmed Lt. Gen. Michael Langley as the nation’s first Black four-star Marine general.

Langley, who will now lead U.S. troops in Africa as the commander of U.S. Africa Command, was widely expected to land the confirmation following a hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee in late July.

In the Marine Corps’ 246-year history, more than 70 white men have risen to the four-star ranking, according to The Washington Post.

 The Senate unanimously confirmed Langley and a series of other military leaders to new roles Monday evening, according to a Tweet from the Senate cloakroom.

His confirmation was celebrated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, on social media.

Before receiving his nomination to the new role by President Joe Biden in June, Langley, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, held several leadership roles during his 37 years in both the Pentagon and Marine Corps, according to his Marine Corps bio.

Langley will replace the outgoing commander of U.S. AFRICOM, Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend., Townsend shared that the threat of violent extremism and strategic competition from China and Russia remain the greatest challenges to the combatant command, according to a Department of Defense news release.

“Some of the most lethal terrorists on the planet are now in Africa,” said Townsend, according to the release.

Langley’s promotion comes as U.S. troops are once again operating in Somalia.

U.S. AFRICOM reported no new civilian casualties in its most recent quarter as of June 30 this year, according to a casualty assessment report released in July.


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MOAA has plenty of upcoming webinars, seminars, career fairs, and much more for members and nonmembers alike. Below are a few links to help you get started:

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'Sky is not even the limit': NASA astronaut visits ROTC students at Clarke Central

JROTC instructor Sgt. Antione Clark, left, speaks with retired U.S. Army Col. Paul Longgrear, and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

The Clarke Central High School Junior ROTC recently played host to an astronaut who shared how the military not only gave him an opportunity to serve his country but also to serve humanity.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, who is also a retired U.S. Army colonel, spoke on Friday to the Clarke Central cadets and visiting students from JROTC units from other area high schools.

Kimbrough said he wanted to tell the cadets about the “incredible opportunities the Army provided me” and his space flight experiences that includes missions on the International Space Station, where he served with Russian counterparts.

“I hope they can see that the sky is not even the limit anymore,” Kimbrough said about opportunities in the military.

Being in space gives one insight on the “beauty and fragility” of earth, according to Kimbrough, who has conducted multiple space walks during his missions.

“It never gets old,” he said about being in space. “I’ve been up there a year now in total and every time I am in absolute awe of our planet.”

NASA astronaut Sane Kimbrough was a guest at the JROTC facility at Clarke Central High School on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

President Ronald Reagan gave Shane Kimbrough a presidential appointment to West Point

Kimbrough graduated high school at The Lovett School in Atlanta and had his eye on possibly playing baseball for Georgia Tech, before President Ronald Reagan gave him a presidential appointment to West Point.

Prior to his address to the cadets, the astronaut was given a tour of the Clarke Central JROTC facility, where he was taken to the various offices and spaces by Central’s JROTC instructor First Sgt. Antione Clark.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough greets former Clarke Central JROTC members Caleb Miller and Karamyah Harris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

Kimbrough was in Athens where he gave the keynote speech at the Georgia Military Officers Association of America’s annual conference held Saturday night at the Georgia Center on the University of Georgia campus.

Joining Kimbrough on the visit to Clarke Central were members of the Military Officers Association, including retired combat veteran Col. Paul Longgrear. Also attending were retired officers Andrew Neighbors, Hugh Barclay and David Dupree.

Wayne Ford

Athens Banner-Herald


POW/MIA Numbers

In order to comprehend the importance of this movement, all you need to do is look at the sheer number of Americans who have been listed as POW/MIAs.

American POW Numbers

According to a Congressional Research Service report on POWs:

  • 130,201 World War II service members were imprisoned; 14,072 them died.
  • 7,140 Korean War service members were imprisoned; 2,701 of them died.
  • 725 Vietnam War service members were imprisoned; 64 of them died.
  • 37 service members were imprisoned during conflicts since 1991, including both Gulf wars; none is still in captivity

American MIA Numbers

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 83,114 Americans who fought in those wars are still missing, including:

  • 73,515 from World War II (an approximate number due to limited or conflicting data)
  • 7,841 from the Korean War
  • 1,626 from Vietnam
  • 126 from the Cold War
  • 6 from conflicts since 1991


State Tax Update: Latest on Grassroots Work to Exempt Military Retirement 

By: Tony Lombardo

JUNE 01, 2022

State Tax Update: Latest on Grassroots Work to Exempt Military Retirement

From left, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp; LTC Barry Gardner, USA (Ret), president of MOAA’s Georgia Council of Chapters; COL Mayo “Biff” Hadden III, USA (Ret), Fort Benning Chapter President; and Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp. (Photo by Trish Hadden)

Is your state still fully taxing retirement pay? MOAA National serves in an advisory capacity for state-specific issues such as income tax exemption. Please contact your local MOAA council as state legislation must originate at the state level.

Military retirees in three states soon will be eligible for significant tax breaks, with South Carolina and Oklahoma exempting all military retirement income from state taxes, and Georgia exempting a portion of that income for residents under age 62.

MOAA members and affiliates took part in some of the lobbying efforts to secure these new provisions. Here’s an update on these new laws, as well as work underway in Rhode Island on similar tax relief.


Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law exempting up to $35,000 of military retirement income from state taxes for state residents under age 62. All residents are eligible for a $17,500 military retirement pay exemption, while those declaring Georgia-earned income up to $17,500 can declare an additional amount equal to the income claimed.

Georgia residents ages 62 to 64 can claim a $35,000 exemption on any type of retirement income, while those over 65 can exempt $65,000.

The Georgia law takes effect for the 2022 tax year.

“It was a long, hard battle, but it worked out,” said LTC Barry Gardner, USA (Ret), president of MOAA’s Georgia Council of Chapters. “Every chapter talked to their state rep, their state senator and push this, stressing the brain drain.”

Gardner gave special praise to Georgia Council Legislative Chairman Col. William "Les" Arent, USAF (Ret), who "herded from the Council level."

"He's been working this legislative affairs thing for a good seven, eight years," Gardner said. "He’s always been right there with us."

Gardner said the tax break sends a message to newly retiring military based at Georgia installations.

“You’ve served here in Georgia, and now is your chance to continue serving in the state and contribute your expertise in the state,” he said.

The bill does not address survivor benefits and does not cover members of the commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service or NOAA.    CLICK CURRENT VERSION

South Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster signed H. 3247 into law on May 13, exempting all military retirement income from South Carolina taxes beginning with the 2022 tax year. The South Carolina Veteran Coalition, with leadership from MOAA members, spearheaded advocacy efforts in support of the change.

“It has been an eight-year journey. It’s a hallelujah day for us,” said Col. Tom Robillard, USAF (Ret), who serves as the vice president for legislative affairs for both MOAA’s South Carolina Council of Chapters and the Columbia Chapter. Robillard also co-founded MOAA’s State Legislative Forum, which allows state-level advocates to discuss experiences and best practices.

[RELATED: MOAA Changemaker 2020: Tom Robillard]

Robillard said a combination of factors led to the legislative victory. The timing was good -- the state was experiencing an excess of funds and had created a new tax on internet sales. And while that played a role, Robillard said a unified drumbeat from nine veterans service organizations made this a reality. In terms of strategy, he said one-on-one meetings between legislators and their constituents proved critical to convey the message.

Robillard said Council President Maj. Gen. Michael Akey, USAF (Ret), and Council Vice President Linda Caldwell, a former Army captain, led the way.

"We are just so thrilled for our fellow veterans that they have this long-awaited exemption,” Caldwell said, adding that this move will keep military retirees in the state. “This is just a huge plus for South Carolina, which is an awesome place to live.”

Robillard said the bill also benefits survivors, although it does not include nonmilitary uniformed services personnel. “That’s probably another battle down the line,” he said.


Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill May 26 granting full exemption on military retirement pay.

SB 401 takes effect beginning with the 2022 tax year and would expand the state’s existing tax break for military retirees, which covers 75% of their earnings.

“We’re thrilled about it,” said Lt. Col. Ed Petersen, USAF (Ret), president of MOAA's Oklahoma Council of Chapters. “Looking at the number of surrounding states that already had this it was pretty obvious it needed to be done.”

State Sen. Adam Pugh, a former Air Force officer and a member of the senate since 2016, told the Tulsa World the bill would attract “highly trained professionals” to the state to “help fill the gap in critical industries like aviation and engineering, which will be an incredible boon for our economy.”

Petersen, at risk of sounding like the Chamber of Commerce, noted the state already had clean air, clear skies, cosmopolitan cities (Tulsa and Oklahoma City), a low cost of living, and friendliness to spare.

“Bottom line, this is just another item on the list,” Petersen said of the new exemption. “And one that might tip Oklahoma in favor.”

[RELATED: Check Out This Ranking of the Best (and Worst) States for Military Retirees]

The bill does not cover members of the commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service or NOAA.


Rhode Island

The FY 2023 Rhode Island state budget proposal includes a phased approach to exempting military retirement pay, beginning with a 20% reduction for the 2023 tax year.

The exemption would increase an additional 20% until the 2027 tax year, when the full amount would be covered. Gov. Dan McKee included the change in his proposal, which is now in the state house (H 7123) awaiting consideration.

The measure would not address USPHS or NOAA income, nor would it affect survivor benefits. Rhode Island has no military retirement-specific tax breaks on the books, though taxpayers over 65 are able to exempt a portion of their income if overall income levels fall below a given threshold -- $87,200 for individual filers in 2022. Learn more about the exemption at this link (PDF).

Tony Lombardo

Tom Lombardo spent 15 years working in journalism, most recently as the executive editor of Military Times. As director of audience engagement, he oversees online and print content teams for MOAA’s Communications Department. Follow him on Twitter.

Georgia Council of MOAA
Georgia Council of MOAA
Georgia Council of MOAA
Georgia Council of MOAA

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