NCOA: A voice for the enlisted at the Capitol

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The local chapter of the Non-Commissioned Officers' Association (NCOA) shares insight to why people should join and support the organization.

"The association provides a strong voice on Capitol Hill for benefits and quality-of-life improvements for active duty, reserve, and retired members of all of the armed forces," said Tech. Sgt. Jay Wingfield, NCOA Fort Concho Chapter president.

"The NCOA offers its members a wide range of benefits and services designed especially for current and former enlisted service members and their families. These benefits include social improvement programs (help ensure your well-being during your active military career, your transition to civilian life and throughout your retirement), legislative representation, and services to help save you money through merchant program discounts," the NCOA president added.

The Fort Concho Chapter was founded in July 1982. It currently has approximately 145 members, with seven actively participating. The chapters current officers are Tech. Sgt. Jay Wingfield, chapter chairman; retired Senior Master Sgt. Steve Willey, vice chairman, and retired Master Sgt. Cynthia Willey, treasurer/secretary.

NCOA members contribute to different community-involvement activities and projects both on and off base.

The local NCOA chapter has taken the lead and has received approval for working with other local chapters of a fellow military-professional organization on raising funds to bring the Moving Vietnam Wall to San Angelo. The wall is a replica of the actual Vietnam Wall, but half the size. It travels to various communities around the nation promoting patriotism and appreciation for the sacrifices the men and women of our armed forces made during the Vietnam War
There are several reasons for joining and supporting the local NCOA chapter, Mr. Willey provided the following list of reasons.

Enhance professional skills
 - Improve leadership skills through active executive council participation
 - Improve communication skills by advancing ideas and needs of military peers
 - Improve interaction between services by working together with members of multiple branches

Support base and community
 - Organize voter registration drives on and off base to ensure military members, their families, and local civilians have the chance to elect their political representatives
 - Enhance safety of children by sponsoring child identification drives

Support enlisted members of all services on Goodfellow
 - Sponsor Commandant's Award at NCO Academy
 - Provide support for Wing Quarterly and Annual Awards Programs
 - Provide Support for Military Birthday Balls

The requirements needed to join the NCOA are:
 - Enlisted member of any military branch (E1-E9 active/reserve/guard, Retired or separated NCOs or Petty Officers)
 - Veterans of any grade
 - Active duty officers who were former NCOs or POs
 - Family members of those previously listed

There are no additional fees for joining locally, however there are fees for joining the NCOA. Those fees range from $20 per year to $400 for lifetime membership, depending on status and type of membership.

NCOA meetings are held every second Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Thede Bowling Center on base.

Those interested in joining or supporting the NCOA should contact Steve Willey at 655-4766 or 654-5388 or via e-mail at steven.willey@goodfellow.af.mil