Saturday, February 04, 2006

Armed Forces Service Center, Minneapolis - St Paul does not support retirees

My fellow Americans, Service Members and Military Retires:

I need your help. This evening at 19:00, I was graciously turned away from the Armed Forces Service Center because I am a retiree. My retired armed forces ID card is worthless at this airport.

Please do not confuse this organization with the USO. Remember, USO good.........Armed Forces Service Organization bad. This evening at 19:00, 2/04/2006, I was graciously turned away from the Armed Forces Service Center because, " I am a military retiree, not, active duty." My retired armed forces ID card is worthless at this airport.

The problem as explained to me, "Our scope of service at Minneapolis - St. Paul Airport is very narrow. We are privately funded and cannot support servicing retirees." The two hosts on duty did allow me to get a cup of coffee, but, threw me out when I sat down to drink it. So, I am going to send Debra a dollar for the coffee I drank. I do not want to be known as a "freeloader." Now, I do not know what resources I was taking up when I briefly visited Armed Forces Service Center. It was 19:00, Sunday evening. There were only five other people in a rather comfortable and spacious facility located on the second floor mezzanine.

Let me back up for a moment. Here is a little background on my flight: I was flying from Washington DC to Seattle with what I thought was a 2.5 hour plane change and layover. I was looking forward to a relaxing time at Minneapolis - St. Paul because I had been through the airport a couple of years ago and stopped in the military spaces at the airport before. Thought that the locals were friendly. So, not even thinking that I would encounter a problem, I purchased baggage locker space inside the security section of the airport ($2.00) to leave my computers and carry-on baggage. As we all know, it is a hassle to go through the security checkpoint with two laptops, cell phone, keys, change, etc. I would have saved two bucks and not have left the secure area if I had known retirees were not wanted.

I guess the tip-off that things had changed at the Armed Forces Service Center was that a sign said "don't block the door to the Armed Forces Service Center" on a little used mezzanine it is located at. That is odd unless there is a lot of traffic. Hey, maybe the sign is for confused retirees who are told to get out. Anyway, at 19:00 on a Saturday evening there was little traffic and very few people around the Armed Forces Service Center.

Well, after finding out the name of the Armed Forces Service Center Director's name, Debra Cain, Armed Forces Service Center, 4300 Glumack Drive,email: LT 3765 (ticket Area Mezz) Above Dr. 1, Minneapolis - St Paul International Airport, St. Paul, Minnesota 55111, Telephone Number: Center:612-726-9155/Office:612-726-9156/Office Fax:612-726-9232, email: afsc_msp@qwest.net the host said it was "ok to look around a little and get a cup of coffee." I got a cup of coffee and sat down to drink it. One of the hosts, a man of middle age, came up to me and said. "we really have a very strict narrow scope of operation here, you have to leave." So, I left. What could I do? They told me it was ok to come in and look around and grab a cup of coffee, but, don't linger even of a brief time. I think that is a crock, but, who am I anyway?. And, there were only five other people lounging around. it was almost empty. Imagine trying to go back through security checkpoint juggling a cup of coffee. I was really POed about it. It cost me $2.00 to store my carry ons for only about 10 - 15 minutes and find out that my presence was not desired at Armed Forces Service Center.

I guess this is another John Kerry type organization that will disrespect retired service members because as the hosts said "it is not funded for retirees." Give me a break, I spent 30 yrs 2 months 24 days in the military and am once again being treated like a second class citizen. I thought that Armed Forces Service Center Organization was also supported by private donations and checked it out on the web. Their website indicates that they are also funded by veteran organizations. I would like to mount a letter writing campaign to VFW, American Legion and anyone else that donates to their cause here at this airport.

Maybe I am wrong about their funding and support, but I vaguely remember supporting the Armed Forces Services Organization in the past. All I know is that I will not be putting any donations in that organization, unless I get some solid info that they support retirees.

For the young active duty personnel out there, I am not sure that they will be as concerned about organizations turn away retirees right now, but, they will be retired someday and get the short end of the stick, so to speak themselves. I am very sensitive to it because I was one who served when protesters spit on us for serving. Getting run off from Armed Forces Service Center, Minneapolis - St. Paul Airport brought back some very bad memories of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

I plan to fax and email dismay to Debra Cain using my real name and my Blogger ID "Bos'un" to let her know I am the one who got run off. I posted a note on Hannity Forums and also emailed several of my friends and associates. I am posting this blog for all the retirees who travel through MSP Airport.

If you email, fax, or call Debra yourself, remind her where you heard it first, directly from "The Bos'un" I want to turn up the heat a little for any other military retirees going through Minneapolis - St. Paul airport.

And, if the veteran organizations are supporting her, I would like them to know that their money is not being well spent. I am going to try to find the airport Port Director's fax and email and alert him to military retirees being told to get out of that nice spacious facility that Armed Forces Services Organization has. Guess they figure a zillion military retirees will descend on Minneapolis - St Paul airport and try to "freeload" on their organization. Wonder if the space is donated to them or they are paying for it? Not sure how it is funded or who the private contributors are? Can we FOIA a list? Do you know how we can get a list of their contributors? As you can see I am still a rabble rouser and am getting worked up again as a write you this note.
To add insult to injury, after I went back to the gate to wait for my plane, I was told that NW 165 would be delayed 2.5 hours more. It is now 00:40, 02/05/2006 and I am still waiting to fly out. We were supposed to leave at 21:30, but, I have seen midnight pass. At least Northwest gave us vouchers to get Subway or Burger King about 30 minutes ago. I picked up a Subway. So, hear I sit really disappointed that I have an extended layover at Minneapolis - St. Paul airport and am once again a second class citizen like I was after Viet Nam. How luck I am. And, I did not throw my medals over the fence, participate in the Winter Soldier hearings, or other bull like our French Looking Senator Kerry did.

Please contact Armed Forces Services Organization about this matter. I am going to find out if they have a national charter and take my dismay all the way to the top. I think that they should remove "Armed Forces" from their name and call themselves active duty services organization. Please ask them to support retirees as well as active duty members and stop the baloney. I ask you to do this as a 30 year retired sailor who think that military regardless if their are retirees or active duty have paid the price for their service. Rosemary, thank you for your assistance in regards to this matter.

One last thing, I support USO and all military based organizations. I am going to find out more about an organization that is called Armed Forces Service Center. Last time I was in this airport, it allowed retirees to use its facilities. Now it does not.

Respectfully,
Bosun

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