By S/m Mark C. Shiflett, Br. 103
Fleet Reserve Association Branch 103 (Yokosuka, Japan) installed its newly-elected officers in a ceremony held on Wednesday, June 13th.
S/m Jon Hook relieved S/m Jon Oliver as the Branch President, and S/m Dan Galegher assumed the Branch Vice Presidency. The installation of officers was presided over by S/m Frank Misiura, who has been a member of Branch 103 since 1990, during which he has served in several Branch Officer posts, and currently serves on the Branch’s Board of Governors.
“In this day and age, although many now will say ‘thank you for your service,'” said S/m Galegher (who first affiliated with the FRA in 1986); continuing, “I am pretty confident they don’t know what the servicemember went through in that.”
S/m Galegher emphasized that though only 2 or 3% of US Citizens volunteer to serve, the remainder of the US population often don’t fully understand the underlying sacrifices that are inherent in the lives of servicemembers and their families.
Branch 103 of the FRA was chartered on March 15th, 1949 and is the only FRA Branch currently operating in Japan. Membership of the Yokosuka branch is over 300 Shipmates. In addition to contributing to national legislative representation and supporting local Servicemembers (for example, FRA Branch 103’s hosting of an annual luncheon for sea- and shore-based Sailors of the Year), S/m Misiura noted that Branch 103 often provides local Sailors and their families with support in times of financial hardship.
Branch members also actively serve the greater Yokosuka community both on-and off-base. Branch 103 has sponsored three Scout Troops as well as Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Security Department to sponsor D.A.R.E. and other youth programs for several years.
While noting Branch 103’s local contributions, former Branch President (and ten-year member) S/m Jon Oliver emphasized the National FRA’s important role, stating: “The FRA provides servicemembers with information on a national scale of what Congress is acting on, how these actions can affect service members in the future, and what the servicemember can do about it.”
The Branch actively recruits new members, and was recently recognized with the Group II Branch Loftgren Award for member recruitment during a visit by S/m Pete Lazzaretti (RPNW) in April 2012.
“FRA’s ability to continue to fight for pay and benefits is directly tied to our membership’s end-strength. Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guard make that up. Without our membership, we don’t exist,” S/m Misiura said.