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rapidfire Benefits Brief


THE VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM is a new, temporary benefit that allows eligible veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility. Eligibility requirements include: being en- rolled in VA health care on or before Aug. 1, 2014, or being eligible to enroll as a recently discharged combat veteran. Potential candidates also must meet at least one of


the following criteria:  You are told by your local VA medical facility


that you will need to wait more than 30 days for an appointment from the date clinically determined by your physician or, if no such date is provided, the VA’s preferred date.  Your residence is more than 40 miles from the


closest VA medical facility.  You need to travel by plane or boat to the VA


medical facility closest to your home.  You face an unusual burden in traveling to the


closest VA medical facility based on geographic chal- lenges, environmental factors, or a medical condition.  You reside in a state or a U.S. territory without a


full-service VA medical facility that provides hospital care, emergency services, and surgical care and reside more than 20 miles from such a VA medical facility. For additional information, contact the Choice Pro- gram call center at (866) 606-8198. Visit www.va.gov/opa/choiceact for more informa- tion or email specific inquires to beninfo@moaa.org.


Medicare’s Gone Social


Did you know Medicare recently launched a Medi- care Facebook page in celebration of its 50th an- niversary? The page serves as an official source — literally at your fingertips — for those already en- rolled in Medicare and those looking to enroll soon. The page features the latest program information as well as upcoming events. It also will look to the future and explore ways to keep Medicare and Med- icaid strong for the next 50 years.


In Review


Silent and Unseen: On Pa- trol in Three Cold War At- tack Submarines. By Alfred Scott McLaren. Naval Institute Press, 2015. $39.95. ISBN 978- 1-61251-845-9.


Life aboard Cold War subma- rines is little un- derstood and less


appreciated, except by the men who served on diesel-electric and nu- clear-powered fast attack submarines from 1958-65. Alfred Scott McLaren’s


unvarnished memoir of naval adventures on three submarines reveals a sub- mariner’s life of complex technical qualifi cations, thorny leadership challeng- es, the constant tension of long patrols, lurking Soviet submarines, and the at-sea experiences of typhoons, fl oating sea mines, seasick- ness, fi res, deadly gases, and the polar ice pack. McLaren vividly de- scribes the cramped, smelly living conditions on a sub, patrolling the northwest Pacifi c Ocean in winter, a passage under the North Pole, and operating “silent and unseen” along the So- viet Far East coast. Learn, too, why subma-


rines are called “pig boats,” the hazards of Iceberg Alley,


24 MILITARY OFFICER JANUARY 2016


and the hilarious mystery of the missing salami.


Girl at Sea: A Story of Courage, Strength, and Growth from One of the First Women to Serve On U.S. Warships. By Joanna Sprtel Walters. Skyhorse Pub- lishing, 2015. $24.99. ISBN 978-1-63450-486-7.


Since the combat exclusion law was removed in 1993, women


have served proudly and ef- fectively in all the military services. Former U.S. Navy Lt. Joanna Sprtel Walters explicitly tells of her expe- riences as one of the fi rst female naval offi cers to serve aboard combat ships. In this autobiography, she describes her four years as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and her six years as a surface warfare offi cer aboard a destroyer and later on an amphibious landing ship. With hon- est appraisal, both good and bad, Walter tells of academic stress and sexual harassment, as well as good friends and the quality of an academy education. She candidly reveals commanders who wanted her to fail and shipmates who wanted her to succeed. — William Bushnell


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