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Southern Maine Chapter Newsletter

February 2021

Vol 37  No. 1


President's Message
Quarterly Meeting Hold
Welcome Aboard
Chapter Supporters 2020
Annual Dues Drive

Dues Form

Healthcare Update 2021
DFAS Message for Army Retirees
Indefinite ID Cards for Spouse/Dependents

In Memoriam


President's Message

Greetings everyone!  It is an enormous honor and pleasure for me to be serving as the new President of the Southern Maine Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.  I thought I would use this first newsletter as an opportunity to introduce myself to our membership.  I am anxiously awaiting our first “live” Quarterly Meeting and will rely heavily on the advice and recommendation of our esteemed Executive Board as to when this could take place.  In the meantime, this introduction will have to suffice!    

 I am a proud Soldier for Life - my relationship with the Army spans 40 years and is the longest of my life, apart from my parents and siblings.  I grew up in western Massachusetts (Pittsfield) and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  I was part of the Army ROTC Early Commissioning Program commissioned in 1981 (Military Police) and graduating in 1982.  While at UMASS I met Cadet Toby Pennels from Maine whom I married in 1983.  Toby and I spent our first years together on active duty at Fort Hood, Texas.  He was with 2nd Armored Division and I was with the 89th MP Brigade.  After completing our initial assignments, we opted (I actually remember that he opted for me!) to leave active service and continue our careers in the Reserve Component.  We moved first to Chicago for civilian employment and then to Buffalo, before finally settling with our 3 kids in the summer of 2000 in Windham, in the house where Toby grew up.   I had a busy civilian career in Medical and Pharmaceutical Sales, working for Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.  Most of my Army reserve time was while in Buffalo – I held several command and staff positions with the 98th Division (Training) before concluding my military service in 2001.  Toby went on to serve another 10 years before retiring from the Army in 2011.  In the 10 years between 2001 and 2011 he was deployed 4 times to Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq with his final assignment being Commander of the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade, Iraq. 

Chapter Quarterly Meeting Dates for 2021 on Hold

The Board of Directors has decided to hold off in-person quarterly meeting dates for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  We are hoping that as the year progresses and coronavirus numbers go down, we may again be able to meet.  In the meantime, please stay safe and get your COVID-19 vaccine.

ROTC/JROTC Update 2021

Long-time readers will recognize this listing of the Junior and Senior ROTC programs that we support throughout Maine.  There are a total of 8 Junior Programs and 4 Senior Programs in our state.  The listing below reflects both programs and known dates shared with us to date.  I have broken them down by Military Branch as well as program type (Junior or Senior).  For the programs that we have dates of their awards presentation, they have been listed along with the phone number of the school.  With COVID-19 affecting school schedules, you can understand that many programs are in flux at this point.  As additional information is received, I will update you in future Newsletter editions.  Any member who wishes to represent the Chapter by presenting the award should contact the school.



Bangor High School       207-992-5570   (May 1, 2021)

Hermon High School      207-848-5436   (May 2021, Date TBD)

Nokomis Regional High School  207-368-5239 (March 2021, Date TBD)

Old Town High School    207-827-3910, ext 309  (March 2021, Date TBD)

Sacopee Valley High School   207-625-2303  (Date TBD)


Brewer High School         207-989-4140     (Date TBD)

Lewiston High School      207-795-4190, ext 5246  (Date TBD)


Massabesic High School   207-247-5011      (May 2021, Date TBD)

Senior ROTC


University of Maine, Orono    207-581-1121

Awards Ceremony (May 2021, Date TBD) Commissioning (May 2021, Date TBD)

University of Southern Maine, Portland, Gorham:  207-891-1839

Awards Ceremony (May 6, 2021) Commissioning (May 21, 2021)


University of Maine, Orono    207-581-1551 Commissioning (May 2021, Date TBD)

Maine Maritime Academy, Castine   207-326-2356               Awards Ceremony (April 2021, Date TBD)       Commissioning  (May 2021, Date TBD)

Presently, we support them by providing annual awards and a gift for deserving cadets in both the JROTC and the Senior ROTC programs. The Chapter also provides a $500 scholarship for the Senior ROTC Detachments, and one each for the two Army programs and one each for the two Navy programs.  These awards are made possible by generous member contributions each year.  We thank you for your support. 

(COL Frank Toderico, ROTC Chair

Indefinite ID Cards for Spouses/Dependents of Retirees

We recently received word from the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness that a change was approved for the services to reduce the age for indefinite ID card issuance for spouses of retirees and other eligible dependents from age 75 to age 65.  Spouses of retirees and other eligible dependents often have a difficult time getting to and from installation ID card offices.  Online appointments at some installations have wait times as long as six weeks.  The Defense Manpower and Data Center (DMDC) will still need to implement necessary system changes in DEERS.  Until DMDC incorporates the change, ID Card Sites cannot issue the indefinite ID cards.  The update is scheduled to occur sometime in the third quarter of fiscal year 2021.

Please do not call the ID card office in your area to try to schedule an appoint at this time.  The ID card centers are providing very limited services due to COVID-19 restrictions.  All current ID cards have automatically been extended through June 30, 2021.  At that time, priority will likely first be given to those with expired IDs.  More information regarding this will be coming, so patience is required.

(Paul Loveless, Retired Services Office)

President's Message (Cont.)

In August of 2014 Toby was killed in a horrific accident, leaving me to re-evaluate my life.  I realized that when I felt most happy and fulfilled was during my 20 years of Army service and started looking for ways to reconnect myself with the military community.  I joined the American Legion in Windham and before I knew it was the Vice-Commander and involved in numerous projects, including Memorial Day and Veterans Day events and a big fundraising campaign in my late husband’s name to pave the driveway and parking lot of the Windham Veterans Center.  By 2018 I knew I also wanted a military component in my day-to-day work and was so fortunate to find my current position as Strategic Relations Manager for the US Family Health Plan at Martin’s Point Healthcare.  (Many thanks to Bill Hall for retiring!)  I love that my job gives me daily opportunities to work with and serve military retirees across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and northern Pennsylvania.  I have become a subject matter expert of sorts on TRICARE and also Medicare.  My job has opened doors for me in several other organizations:  I am on the Executive Board for Association of the United States Army (AUSA) and the Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee, and in January 2020, was appointed as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the state of Maine. 

I am looking forward to all the new experiences that I know are coming my way as President of our Chapter.  I also recognize that I have a lot to learn and am open to your suggestions and ideas of where you would like to see our Chapter go in 2021!  Please feel free to reach out to me at brenda.pennels@martinspoint.org, or brendapennels@gmail.com.  My cell number is 207-671-1262.  Looking forward to seeing you all in the flesh soon!

Very respectfully,

Brenda Pennels
LTC, USA (Ret.)

Welcome Aboard

The Chapter is pleased to “Welcome Aboard” our newest member:

Commander Carl William (Bill) Eilers, USN (Ret) and his wife Christine from Wiscasset, ME.

We look forward to meeting them at a future quarterly meeting.  (Col Rob McAleer, Membership Chair)

Southern Maine Chapter Supporters (2020)

The Chapter is able to continue its annual operations because of the year in and year out support provided by you, our loyal members, through your annual dues.  In many cases, you have able to provide additional assistance through your voluntary contributions to the General Fund and the ROTC/JROTC program.  In order to appropriately recognize your support and generosity, the Chapter established four categories of supporters.  The Standard Bearers are those members who have paid their dues for the current year.  Bronze Star members have donated up to $24.00 extra to the Chapter.  Silver Star members have donated up to $49.00 extra.  And, Gold Star members have donated $50.00 or more.  Last year we collected $1700 in dues, $1715 in General Fund donations and $1160 in ROTC donations.  Regardless of the level of contribution, the Chapter is truly grateful for your continuing support.  Please follow the link below to a list of our generous supporters.  


(Col Rob McAleer, Membership Chair)

Annual Dues Drive

Our annual dues drive for 2021 began back in November 2020 with a due date of January 1, 2021.  We still have a couple dozen members who have not yet responded.  If you are one of them, please take a moment to do so.  For those of you who receive the hard copy Newsletter, you will find a Red Dot on your address label to indicate if we have not received your 2021 dues to date.  Those who receive the Newsletter electronically, you will be receiving an email from me to this effect.  The dues remain the same for 2021, $20.  Kindly send a check to the:

Southern Maine Chapter, MOAA
P.O. Box 2145
South Portland, ME 04106-2145

It will save our Board Members from having to make individual reminder phone calls.  If you are not sure of your status, please contact me by phone at (207) 833-5574 or Email:  rmcaleer04079@gmail.  


Thank you in advance for your continuing support.  (Col Rob McAleer, Membership Chair)

Healthcare Update 2021

While it’s quiet on the TRICARE front, obviously the big health issues are controlling the spread of Covid-19 and statewide vaccinations.  Maine is currently in Phase 1b of vaccinations, a phase that includes ages 70 and older.  The Maine Center for Disease Control is creating a registration site for all Maine residents, a project that hopefully will be open for business no later than early March.  See link below for more information about vaccination locations:


I attended a virtual tour of the new Veterans’ Administration (VA) clinic under construction on West Commercial Street in Portland recently.  The new Portland Community Based Outreach Center (CBOC) will replace both existing health centers in Portland and Saco.  The tour focused mainly on the parking garage, since the clinic building was less complete.  The garage will hold 350 vehicles, offering plenty of parking for staff and clients.  Construction of the garage and clinic will be complete in November 2021.  Fitting out of the internal clinic spaces will follow.  I’ve been in the current Saco and Portland CBOCs, which seem a bit tight to me, so this new facility will be quite an improvement, including audio testing, eye exams, and X-ray capabilities.  VA clients will no longer have to drive north to the Togus Hospital for these procedures.  I’ll report on the progress of the new CBOC in future articles.  (Col Bill Hall)

A Message from the Defense Finance and Accounting Agency (Army Retirees)

The 2020 IRS Form 1099-R mailed to you in early January contains a Payer's Federal Identification Number (FIN) that is missing the last digit because of a printing error.  The correct Payer's FIN is:  34-0727612.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  We will mail you a corrected 2020 IRS 1099-R with the correct Payer's Federal Identification Number.  The corrected 1099-R will be mailed no later than February 1, 2021.  Please consider current postal travel times when anticipating the delivery of your corrected 1099-R.  You can also download a correct 2020 IRS 1099-R from myPay.  It is available now.  If you're not using myPay, please see our Managing Your Retirement - Taxes webpage for links to helpful downloadable guides and YouTube videos at http://go.usa.gov/xApfF or www.dfas.mil/rettaxes  (DFAS Retired & Annuitant Pay



In Memoriam

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas P. Donovan, USAF

Saco, Maine

     December 12, 2020      

"We are grateful for your loyal service to the Nation..."
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