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May Shirt Blast

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Alex Gross
  • 169th Fighter Wing

Hello Swampfox!

This month, I figured we'd revisit and bust some of the misconceptions I've heard throughout my career. If you have some, send them my way and we'll bust them next time! I’ll include references with each myth. Don’t agree with one? Reach out and let’s discuss.

TOPIC:  Myths!

WHY YOU CARE:  No one wants to spread bad intel. If you’re one of the folks repeating a myth, your credibility could be quickly squashed by those in the know! If you’re hearing these things, SQUASH ‘em! There’s not much worse than bad information being spread with confidence. I’ve been on both sides; myth 5 (below) was my opener to always fact check! I got debunked in a room full of jet-engine mechanics which made for both hilarity and a valuable learning experience.

Myth 1:  If you separate before 20 years of active duty service, you cannot double dip with your AD military time toward a reserve component (ANG or AFR) retirement and toward a civil service retirement…FALSE!

I’m doing it! You can absolutely use your AD military time toward both a reserve component retirement and civil service retirement. It automatically goes toward the reserve piece, but you do have to “buy back” your time on the civil service retirement. If you’re interested in that, let me know and I can get you more information. If you have retired from active duty and are collecting a check than you will be starting fresh with the civil service.

Myth 2:  Taking up residency or spending too long outside of the U.S. will cause you to lose your military retired pay…False, mostly.

Becoming a resident of another country does not cause you to lose your retired pay. Renouncing your U.S. citizenship could, but it depends if you retired from AD or from a reserve component. You can stay out of the country for an indefinite period and still keep your citizenship and retirement. With this one, you’re going to really want to look at your personal situation since there are some situations where it is true.

Myth 3:  You cannot have a service-connected disability and still serve in the guard/reserve…FALSE!

If you have a service connected disability, you can still serve. It just depends on the disability and whether you are still world-wide deployable and can perform the mission. It is true though that you cannot receive VA payments and reserve payments at the same time. The DoD and VA reconcile each member each year and the VA will withhold payments for any day you were on military status and received VA payments.

Myth 4:  I can make way more money on the “outside” doing the same thing…FALSE! (Active-associate Swamp Fox)

I always laugh when people say we don’t get paid enough. It may be true in some cases, but it’s not the norm. We get paid well when you consider our overall compensation to include pay and benefits (pension, healthcare, dental, non-taxed entitlements, education, TSP, training, etc).  Usually I hear this and it is quickly debunked when I run through what you don’t get on the “outside.” Below is a chart that shows the benefits between in and out, a calculator that shows how much you actually make, and a site to see what you could make on the outside.




Myth 5:  The flagpole truck (ball at top of a flag pole) contains a match, bullet, and a razor or some other variation…FALSE!

I believed this forever! I was told this when I was a kid and when I repeated it to a jet-engine mechanic in a room full of maintainers, I was hilariously debunked by a peer; a pile on ensued. It was a good laugh, but a more valuable learning experience in backing up information with facts.

There’s no reason to ever guess when it comes to facts when you have every reference you could ever imagine at your fingertips. If you have a couple myths for a future Shirt Blast, send them my way! As always, please feel to reach out with questions, topic ideas, comments, or feedback.  Thanks for what you do every single day!