MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- The base Personal Services Branch held a Military Retiree Appreciation Day here Friday.
The Retiree Appreciation Day activities were designed to answer questions by providing speakers who will talk about a variety of health care benefits such as Tricare, Tricare for Life, Medicare, and Veterans Administration health care, said Carey Snipes, Marine Corps Community Services Information Referral Specialist here.
Although retirees make up a small percentage of the local population, Snipes feels it is important to recognize them for their great contributions to society, he said.
"They [retirees] have given 20 to 30 years of their lives and in some cases physical sacrifices," said Snipes. "This is the least we can do for them."
The personnel who hosted the event recognized and thanked the retirees for preserving the American way of life and listened to their concerns and educated them on various topics pertaining to military retirees. The event was also open to family members of retirees who are entitled to certain medical benefits.
"It is important to take care of military retirees and have events like this as a yearly refresher on the benefits they are entitled to," said Snipes.
According to Snipes, retirement from the military does not divorce retirees from the military community. Retirees and their family members can become civilian workers, volunteers and community leaders.
Jesse F. Piland, is still an active member in the community, even after retirement. He is a member of American Legion Post 30 in Albany. Aside form learning useful information, he and fellow members of Post 30 were at the event to hopefully recruit retirees interested in joining the post.
Some of the attendees such as Jane Turner, a 27-year Navy veteran, were at the event not only to be educated, but more importantly to meet with other retirees, she said. Turner, who has been retired for quite some time, said she was aware of many of the topics that were discussed throughout the day.
However, she was delighted to be among her peers to celebrate retirement from the military.
"I'm glad I attended this event," said Turner. "It's good for all of us retirees to get together once in a while."
Toward the end of the day, the retirees were given a windshield tour of the base with a surprise stop at the test track. The vehicle test track is a one-mile banked oval concrete course used to test wheeled and tracked vehicles.
Awaiting them was a Light Armored Vehicle and its crew of two Marines. After exiting the bus, the retirees huddled around the Marine vehicle to get a closer look, not knowing they would take turns riding one of the Corps' fastest and most lethal amphibians around the circular track.
Two at a time, the retirees stood through the manholes on the vehicle's turret, smiling while the vehicle sped around the circular track pushing 60 mph.
When it was Turner's turn, the 89-year-old woman climbed up into the turret with ease as if the excitement made her aged body once again nimble. The vehicle sped-off and upon it's return, Turner wore a big grin. Right before she stepped down from the turret, she threw her cane to the ground as though she no longer needed it.
No matter their reason for attending the Military Retiree Appreciation day at the base, many had one common bond, pride in their military careers.
Some wore hats and shirts denoting their respective branch's name while others eagerly spat off a quick summarization of their unique careers. Piland, did not sport any Navy paraphernalia but when he introduced himself to other attendees he proudly boasted of the four years he served during World War II. Although he did not retire from the military like many other attendees, his career was just as impressive, having traveled enough miles on ship to equal a round trip to the moon with a few miles leftover, he said.
"I think it's great the base hosts events such as this," said Piland. "It gives retirees a chance to see the base and the Marines who make it so successful. There is a lot we can learn from each other."