The Signal Newsletter

Atlanta Branch, Commissioned Officers Association
of the U.S. Public Health Service
(representing members assigned to Atlanta-area federal agencies)

Vol 19, Issue 3                                                                                              June / July 2009


Calendar of Events

1. Volunteers Needed for USO (United Service Organizations)
2. New ACOA Community Service Opportunity with the Atlanta Food Bank
3. ACOA Uniform Store
4. ACOA COF Merchandise Available
5. PHS Flag Sales
6. An Invitation to Join “The Surgeon General’s Own”
7. Atlanta Area U S Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Promotion Ceremony
8. BDU Components Available Locally

1. ACOA Ships Medical Supplies to Countries in Need with MedShare International
2. Federal Fitness Day 2009
3. Dealing with Overwhelming Burdens and Stress?
4. Membership has its Privileges: ACOA is Working for You
5. (The) Uniform Matters!
6. ACOA Community Service Project with Café 458
7. ACOA’s Community Service Committee to Receive Volunteer Service Group Award at the 57th Annual CDC and ATSDR Honor Awards Ceremony
8. Atlanta COA is Selected for 2008 COA Branch of the Year!

President's Column

Calendar of Events

Lunch and Learn. Thursday, July 16, 1200 to 1330, CDC, Chamblee Campus, Building 106, Room 1B. Topic: Military Protocol and Wearing of the PHS Uniform. CAPT Bruce Tierney will be presenting. Contact: CAPT Marta Guerra 404.639.3951.

Atlanta Area Promotion Ceremony. Friday, July 24, 0930 Clifton Road, Building 19. See full announcement below.

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Volunteers Needed for USO (United Service Organizations)

The USO’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of the United States Armed Forces personnel and their families worldwide. They provide variety of services and programs to help alleviate some of the stresses and burdens placed upon military families. In addition, USO helps foster cooperative relationships between military and civilian communities.

Their flagship operation is the USO Jean Amos Center at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. This USO Center, strategically located in the world’s busiest airport, assists thousands of active duty and their families, annually.

The Atlanta Commissioned Officer's Association (ACOA) is seeking volunteers to take part in supporting the Jean R. Amos USO Center at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. We staff the USO on the 3rd Saturday of each month in two shifts.

Shift 1 is from 0900 to 1200 and Shift 2 is from 1200 to 1500.

Commissioned Corps officer volunteers are needed during the following days/times:


Monday, July 18 Shift 1 and Shift 2
Tuesday, August 15 Shift 1 and Shift 2
Saturday, September 19 Shift 1 and Shift 2
Saturday, October 17 Shift 1 and Shift 2
Saturday, November 21 Shift 1 and Shift 2

LT Bret Nickels is the coordinator for USO-ACOA officer activities. If you would like to volunteer, please contact LT Bret Nickels to let him know which day you are available.

Consider volunteering. Be a part of sharing our camaraderie and community service to those who serve in the uniformed service. This is a wonderful and rewarding opportunity for everyone!

Thank you for your support!

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New ACOA Community Service Opportunity with the Atlanta Food Bank!

The Atlanta Food Bank Product Rescue Center provides quality food, beverages, and health products to over 800 Metro Atlanta and northern Georgia non-profit partner agencies. These agencies distribute the products to individuals and families in need.

Volunteers make this possible by sorting, inspecting and packing donated items for these groups. The Product Rescue Center is a fun, hands-on project!

ACOA is looking for 15 volunteers to sort and pack food on Saturday, August 1 from 0900 to 1200. Family members and friends are welcome to volunteer. Volunteers must be at least 8 years old (an adult must accompany youth who are high school age and younger). The Product Rescue Center is located in the Food Bank at 732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30318.

Please contact LT Charlene Majersky by July 15, 2009 to volunteer.

For more information, see the Atlanta Community Food Bank Product Rescue Center.

Volunteers will be provided with a thank you letter from ACOA at the end of the year for their eOPF.  

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ACOA Uniform Store

Don’t forget that ACOA has a uniform swap store!! If you have uniforms to donate, wish to purchase gently used uniform components (at very reduced rates), or if you would like to swap gently used uniforms/shoulder boards, contact LCDR Carol Rao, 404.639.4062 for female uniform components or LT Chris Fletcher, 770.488.0755 for male uniform components.

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ACOA COF Merchandise Available

Thanks to all who helped with the ACOA Merchandise Booth at this year’s USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium! The sales exceeded our expectations; we sold nearly 100% of the merchandise we ordered!

Items still available include:

•     Women’s v-neck white t-shirts (small and medium sizes) - $10.00

•     USPHS magnets (perfect for your car!) - $5.00

•     Child-size t-shirts (size 3T - only two left!) - $10.00

•     Wicking material gray t-shirt (size small - only one left!) - $20.00

•     Surgeon General’s 5K Run/Walk t-shirts (XL, XXL, and XXXL) - $5.00

Please contact LT Chris Fletcher (770.488.0755) if you are interested in purchasing any of the above items.

NOTE: If you did not have the opportunity to purchase a wicking material shirt and are interested in purchasing one, please contact LT Chris Fletcher (770.488.0755). We are currently accepting pre-orders (no money up front) to determine if there is enough interest to place another order.

Women's v-neck t-shirt

USPHS magnet

Child t-shirt

Wicking material shirt

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PHS Flag Sales

In an effort to support esprit de corps, as well as to raise funds to support organization activities, ACOA developed and sells full-size USPHS flags and US/USPHS miniature flag desk sets. These flags are available for purchase by USPHS officers and civilians nationwide. These flags were purchased for use by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), as retirement, birthday and holiday gifts, and much more. The full size PHS flag design is not readily available from any other source and makes a great addition to your home or office. It can also serve as a great gift for fellow officers on any special occasion.

The full-size USPHS flag sells for $55 and the US/USPHS flags desk set sells for $18. ACOA members receive a discount and can purchase the full-size USPHS flag for $50 and the US/USPHS flags desk set for $16. For more information, please contact LT Chris Fletcher, 770.488.0755.

USPHS full-size flag US/USPHS miniature flag desk set

Please note: These items are for personal use. The USPHS flag is not intended to replace official USPHS flags, as noted in Subchapter CC29.9 of the Commissioned Corps Personnel Manual.

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An Invitation to Join “The Surgeon General’s Own” United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Music Ensemble

The USPHS Ensemble consists of three groups: Choral Group, Wind Group, and Chamber Group. Currently, approximately 75 active duty PHS officers stationed throughout the U.S. (i.e., Washington, DC; Atlanta; Butner, NC, etc.) are performing members of “The Surgeon General’s Own.”

The mission of the USPHS Ensemble is to provide musical support for formal and informal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and appropriate non-HHS sponsored events. The USPHS Ensemble provides a valuable service to HHS, enhances visibility of the Commissioned Corps and engenders esprit-de-corps. Each year, the USPHS Ensemble performs at the Commissioned Officers Foundation USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium.

Both the Choral and Wind Groups of the Atlanta-area USPHS Ensemble are looking for new members with a passion for music, a dedication to the Corps, and are seeking a highly rewarding opportunity.

The Atlanta-area Choral Group rehearses every other Tuesday from 1730 to 1830 in the CDC Century Center Campus Office Park, Building 2400, First Floor Conference Room.

The Atlanta-area Winds Group rehearses Wednesdays from 1700 to 1800 Bldg 11, Corporate Square.

For more information about the Atlanta-area Choral Group, please visit our website or contact CDR Januett P. Smith-George.

For more information about the Atlanta-area Winds Group, please contact CAPT Mary Reichler.

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Atlanta Area U S Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Promotion Ceremony

Congratulations to all promoted officers! The Atlanta Commissioned Officers Association (ACOA) invites all Atlanta-area officers, coworkers, friends and family to attend the 2009 USPHS Atlanta Area Promotion Ceremony to be held on Friday, July 24 at 0930 at Clifton Road, Building 19. The Acting Surgeon General, RADM Steven K. Galson, has been invited to deliver the keynote address. In addition, a number of senior officers in the Atlanta area are expected to attend.

Please congratulate the following Atlanta Area officers as well as CDC/ATSDR officers that are being promoted.

To Captain:      
Barrow, Roxanne      Guia, Marvin             Quintyne, Cathy
Bower, William       Harper, Scott          Rabb, Laura
Brown, Xiomara       Holland, John          Rudolph, Karen
Bruce, Michael*      Jernigan, John         Sanders, Martin*
Callahan, David      Kim, Hye-Joo          Schneider, Eileen
Dominguez, Kenneth   Law, Marcella              Simmerman, James
Dunne, Eileen        Lippold, Susan        Smith, Theresa
England, Lucinda     Mackenzie, William      Strausbaugh, Daniel
Feikin, Daniel       Martin, Michael      Tierney, Bruce
Friedman, Michael    Mazurek, Gerald          Williams, Seymour
Granich, Rueben      McQuiston, Jennifer*    Wolfe, Mitchell
Grohskopf, Lisa      Naughton, Mary         Yoon, Steven
Guerra, Marta        Pettis, Patricia    
To Commander:      
Abe, Karon           Garcia, Robert        Noe, Rebecca
Benoit, Stephen      Glover, Maleeka         Raleigh, Kathleen
Brunette, Gary       Goode, Brant           Riggs, Margaret
Buff, Ann            Hausman, Leslie     Sanchez, Angela
Cain, Kevin*         Jackson, Mark        Scott-Lewis, Vickie
Cook, Brian          Kallen, Alexander     Shimabukuro, Tom
Creek, Tracey        King, Michael          Skinner-Harris, Brianna
Dewan, Puneet        Lane, Burnetta           Smith Jr., Ralph
Filler, Scott        Lynch, Michael      Sunenshine, Rebecca
Flowers, Nicole      Manning, Susan         Thigpen, Michael
Forbes, Abnnah       McConnell, Terri         Weiss, Edward
Galloway, Renee      McMorrow, Meredith      Wickard, Paul
Ganzon, Andrew       Montgomery, Susan        Williams, Jennifer
To Lieutenant Commander:    
Aburto, Nancy        Gaughan, Denise        Niare, Adriane
Begluitti, Gino      Gunness, Harlem      Nickels, Jeremy
Bennefield, Monica   Hale, Christa            Patel-Larson, Alpa
Chen, Sanny          Hudson, Heidi          Phillips, Donna
Christensen, Deborah Jentes, Emily             Ritchey, Matthew
Costell, Ryan        Laco, Joseph         Thomas, Timothy
Davis, Shane         Lee, Shannon          Toblin, Robin
Dee, Deborah         Loustalot III, Fleetwood Williams, Lorraine
Dolan, Jennifer      Macneil, Adam        Wise, Matthew
Dowell, Chad         Meyer, Peter          Zerbe, Christianna
Francis, Myoshi      Miramontes, Roque      Zipprich, Jennifer
Gardner, Tracie      Mutter, Jamie    

* Exceptional Proficiency Promotions

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BDU Components Available Locally

ACOA has learned that the Military Clothing shop at Fort McPherson still has a number of BDU items and black combat boots available in stock for officers interested in purchasing uniforms locally and having the opportunity to try them on first. The available sizes are mostly at the small end up the spectrum with a few larger sizes (see enclosed chart of available uniforms) but for anyone who might be able to make use of them they are available for purchase. Officers are reminded that the BDU cover used by the Army is not the same as the one used by the PHS and must still be purchased from a Navy source.

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ACOA Ships Medical Supplies to Countries in Need with MedShare International
Contributed by LCDR Anna Satcher Johnson

Approximately 5,000 tons of unused medical supplies and equipment end up in landfills everyday, while people in developing countries are unable to receive aid due to the lack of resources. MedShare International with the help of Atlanta hospitals and clinics bridge the gap between surplus and the need to improve healthcare and the environment through the efficient recovery and redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment to those most in need.

On Saturday, June 13, 2009, ACOA had the honor of working with MedShare International for the first time to sort and pack surplus medical supplies and equipment for distribution to developing countries. Sixteen PHS officers and family members worked alongside a group of volunteers from Hands on Atlanta under the supervision of volunteer coordinators Sarah Jackson and TJ Haggerty. During the orientation, Sarah and TJ discussed the history of MedShare International, the process of collecting and distributing surplus medical supplies and equipment, its partnerships with Atlanta-area hospitals and medical clinics and the importance of volunteers.

The Hands on Atlanta group sorted and boxed surplus medical supplies such as syringes, needles, and gloves. The ACOA volunteers were responsible for sorting and boxing various types of adult and pediatric electrodes. Before we knew it, our three-hour shift ended. The volunteer coordinators closed the session with a summary of the day’s activities.The two groups collectively prepared more than 100 boxes for shipment and sorted more than 20 large bags of electrodes. This left everyone with a sense of accomplishment and the great feeling of giving back to those that are less fortunate. The day ended with an expression of gratitude for our service, as the agency is solely dependent on volunteer services its success. This was a personally rewarding experience and all participants felt that ACOA should continue to organize volunteer opportunities with MedShare International.


Pictured (left to right): LCDR Robin MacGowen, CAPT Michael Campsmith, LCDR Andrew Margolis, CDR Daphne Moffett, CDR Vasavi Thomas, Olivia Dee, CDR Delois Jackson, Raven Moffett, LCDR Deborah Dee, LT Latoria Jordan, CDR Gail Williams and Jamil Williams

Pictured (left to right): LT Carl Lawson, LCDR Anna Satcher Johnson and LCDR Leslie Leonard

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Federal Fitness Day 2009
Contributed by Lauren Williams Korzan

CDC family and friends celebrated Federal Fitness Day 2009 with a 4th Annual 1-mile Walk, Run, and Roll Event along with the John Crellin Memorial Walk at Century Center on Wednesday, May 20, 2009. This is the 18th year that CDC has celebrated Federal Fitness Day, nationally known as National Employee Health and Fitness Day. A great group of participants came out to walk, and then enjoyed refreshments from Chick-Fil-A and Whole Foods. The Office of Health and Safety donated pedometers and reflective armbands and Computer Science Corporation (CSC) donated bags.

The John Crellin Memorial Walk honors the memory of Dr. John Crellin, who worked in ATSDR from 1988 until his passing in 2005. Dr. Crellin was a frequent user of the Rhodes Lifestyle Fitness Center. ATSDR has chosen to remember him with this event each year.

Each year, ACOA volunteers serve as course monitors and motivators for the participants. The Lifestyle Program appreciates the time that these volunteers donate to this event to make it a success. This year’s volunteers include: CAPT Michael Campsmith, LCDR Darrlyn Cornelius-Averhart, LCDR Djenaba Joseph, CAPT Cherryll Ranger, and LCDR Anna Satcher Johnson.

In honor of Federal Fitness Day, the Lifestyle Program celebrated fitness throughout the entire month of May by offering special blast classes in the fitness centers and by providing recognition to anyone participating in physical activity during the month.

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Dealing with Overwhelming Burdens and Stress?
Contributed by CDR Tina Lankford

With increasing economic troubles, in addition to the stress of work and family demands, more and more Americans are suffering. In fact, 58 percent of Americans reported struggling in their lives at the end of 2008, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. This represents an increase of more than 22 million Americans who reported struggling earlier in the year.1

What can you do?

While unfortunate circumstances are typically out of our control, we do have control over how we respond. The following “ten essentials” can help individuals cope as they respond to daily pressures.

The top ten for well-being2:   

  • Connect with others

  • Stay positive

  • Get physically active

  • Help others

  • Get enough sleep

  • Create joy and satisfaction

  • Eat well

  • Take care of your spirit

  • Deal better with hard times

  • Get professional help if you need it

Check out for a dedicated section for each of the ten topics provided above.

Also, did you know?

For the third bullet above, “Get physically active,” there is recently released scientific evidence to support the benefit of physical activity on mental health.3 Basically, evidence indicates that regular physical activity protects against the onset of depression symptoms and major depressive disorder. With the exception of psychiatric disorders, evidence shows that participating in physical activity programs decreases depression symptoms in people diagnosed with depression as well as healthy adults, regardless of age, sex, race/ethnicity, or medical condition.

Most evidence comes from physical activity programs of 3 to 5 days per week, 30 to 60 minutes per session and moderate to vigorous intensity such as aerobic or aerobic plus muscle strengthening activities. Further research is needed on the minimum level of activity to ward off depression symptoms however, moderate to high levels of physical activity have been demonstrated to be more effective in reducing depression symptoms than low levels of physical activity.

1. National Center for Physical Activity and Disabilities; Fact Sheet on Physical Activity and Mental Health. Accessed May 19th, 2009.
2. Live Your Life Well
3. Summary of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report Part G. Section 8: Mental Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008).

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Membership has its Privileges: ACOA is Working for You
Contributed by LCDR Lauren Zapata

The mission of the Atlanta Commissioned Officers Association (ACOA) is to advance the PHS Commissioned Corps by uniting and serving Atlanta-area Corps officers and advocating for their interests through leadership and communication. ACOA membership provides many opportunities to get involved with your local Corps community.

The Atlanta Branch of COA is involved in many activities. Some of ACOA’s activities include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Annual Atlanta Officer's Promotion Ceremony

  • Community service activities (such as Habitat for Humanity and USO Hartsfield)

  • Social gatherings (evening out, sporting events, formal)

  • General membership meetings on current topics of interest

  • Special interest lectures and Lunch-and-Learns

If you are already a member of National COA and the Atlanta Branch of COA, we want to thank you for your time, commitment, and support. If you are not a member, please join. If you know of officers in your agency, division, or branch who are not members, please encourage them to join! With larger numbers we can have a louder, more united voice to address issues that affect Corps officers, and we can make more of an impact in our local community.

If you are interested in becoming an ACOA member, please contact Malissa Spalding at the National COA Headquarters, 301-731-9080, or join online at the National Commissioned Officers Association webpage. You must be a member of COA in order to be a member of ACOA, and the dues for both are paid annually at the end of June. The dues for National COA membership vary depending on your rank and PHS status, and range from $25 to $135 annually. Atlanta Branch membership dues for 2009 are $10 per year.

All members receive a subscription to FRONTLINE, the monthly National COA newsletter, and The Signal, ACOA’s quarterly newsletter. Furthermore, as an ACOA member, you will receive discounts on PHS flags, PHS desk sets, and ACOA-sponsored social events.

We look forward to a very exciting year with particular emphasis placed on social events and esprit de corps for our members. We would be glad to have you a board for the journey!
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(The) Uniform Matters!
Contributed by CAPT Larry Cseh and CAPT Bruce Tierney

This article will outline the “Spring and Summer uniform of the day” as well as significant upcoming uniform changes. We hope this information will prepare all officers for up coming changes.

As we all struggle to deal with issues at work (H1N1, promotion lists, basic readiness, and the upcoming hurricane season), some of us may have missed RADM Galson’s “Uniform of the Day – Spring and Summer 2009” memo released on April 6, 2009. Effective as of 0001 hrs April 6, 2009, the memo designated the following as “uniform of the day”:

  • The Summer Whites (white pants/skirt, shirt, socks, belt, shoes, and cover).

  • Alternate uniforms include Service Khaki, Service Dress White, Service Dress Blue, Service Dress Blue Sweater and the Service Blue (also known as the Salt and Pepper).

  • The memo reminds all officers that the Service Blue uniforms will no longer be authorized as of August 1, 2009.

Although if attending official functions we have several uniform options please keep the following in mind as noted in the Spring/Summer Uniform of the Day memorandum:


  • The Service Dress Whites and Service Dress Blues are to be worn for all official functions, high-level meetings, and ceremonies where civilian dress is a coat and tie.

  • When testifying before Congress, attending Congressional Hearings or conducting other official business on Capitol Hill the Service Dress Blue Uniform is always worn regardless of the season.

  • The Blue Garrison Cap is authorized with the Service Dress Blue Sweater and Service Dress Blue uniform variation using the Black Windbreaker Jacket in lieu of the coat but only until 1 August 2009. After that time the Blue Garrison Cap is no longer authorized for wear with any PHS uniform.

  • If attending a joint service function (commissioning ceremonies, graduation, etc.), during the spring or summer, do wear the Service Dress White uniform.

  • While engaged in domestic travel the officer can elect to wear the uniform of the day for the area traveling to or the Service Dress Blue.

  • The Battle Dress Uniform with the Utility Cap (Navy style 8 –point cover. Note that the Command Ball Cap is not authorized for routine wear on Friday’s with the BDU) is authorized for wear only:
    ~On Fridays as an alternate uniform except for high level meetings or ceremonies. The good news is you can wear them to and from work, in public places, and attending work level meetings.
    ~When safety, work, or environmental conditions make other uniforms unsafe, inappropriate or impractical.
    ~When prescribed by the Office of the Surgeon General (such as deployments).
    ~Officers should note that the BDU is now a required uniform for all officers to own and maintain.


  • The Service Dress Blue Sweater and Black Windbreaker Jacket are not authorized for high-level meetings or ceremonies.

  • The Navy sweater is not authorized to wear with the Service Dress Blue coat.

The bottom line is those of us who like wearing the Service Blues (Salt and Peppers) we have until August 1, 2009. After that date, if we wear them we are out of uniform. We recommend anyone who wants more information about the uniforms changes to read CC26.3.4 and CC26.3.5 or RADM Gaston’s April 6th memo at the Electronic Commissioned Corps Issuance System (eCCIS). As previously mentioned, on August 1, 2009, the Service Blue uniform, or “Salt and Pepper” as it is better known, will no longer be authorized for wear by Commissioned officers. The next few weeks will be your last opportunity to get your moneys worth from wearing the components of the “Salt and Pepper” uniform. This will include the Blue (Black in appearance) Garrison Cap with gold piping. In addition, the Winter Blues, Working Winter Blues, Iindoor Duty White Uniform, Working Khaki Uniform, tropical uniforms to include the Tropical Dinner Dress Blue Uniform and the Formal Dress Uniform also will be phased out on August 1st as well. The elimination of the Working Khaki Uniform leaves only the BDU as the primary working uniform for officers. The BDU is also now a required uniform for all officers to own and maintain as noted in CC26.3.4 and CC26.3.5 so now is the time to start putting together your BDU.

However, not all is lost for some of these uniform components. The white shirt from the Salt and Pepper potentially may be worn with the Summer White Uniform as long as the material matches. For example, Certified Navy Twill (CNT) shirts may be worn with white CNT trousers/slacks/skirts and poly-cotton shirts may be worn with white poly-cotton trousers/slacks/skirts. Officers need to be aware that the Navy is phasing out uniforms using poly cotton in general and uniform components in this material will likely gradually become more difficult to find. Only uniform components in clean serviceable condition should be worn as part of the uniform.

Male officers could wear the black trousers (as long as they remain in good condition and serviceable) as part of the Service Dress Blue Sweater uniform or the Service Dress Blue variation using the Black windbreaker. Officers should not wear these trousers as part of the Service Dress Blue Uniform when wearing the uniform coat. With this combination only black trousers that match the coat material should be worn. It is recommended that the trousers worn with the Service Dress Blue coat combination should be purchased at the same time as the Service Dress Blue coat to insure a uniform appearance between the two components.

We recommend anyone who wants more information about the uniforms changes to read CC26.3.4 and CC26.3.5 or RADM Gaston’s April 6th 2009 Spring/Summer Uniform of the Day Memorandum which, can be found in the Electronic Commissioned Corps Issuance System (eCCIS).

See BDU Items at Fort McPherson for a list of uniform components available locally.

ACOA Community Service Project with CAFÉ 458
Contributed by LCDR Tegan K Boehmer

On Sunday April 26, 2009, nearly 20 ACOA volunteers demonstrated their commitment to service and community by serving brunch at Café 458. Officers volunteered as line cooks, dishwashers, hosts, and servers for 4-hour shifts from 9am–4pm. The first shift of volunteers had a nice, steady warm-up period before greeting the rush-hour crowd around 1100. Expecting the restaurant to close at 1pm, the second shift of volunteers (assigned to clean-up duty) was surprised to find themselves short-staffed and serving patrons until 1400. Thanks to all those who worked hard to keep the restaurant running!

Café 458, located in the Sweet Auburn District, is open for brunch on Sundays to the paying public. All proceeds (including our officer’s hard-earned tips) support the Samaritan House of Atlanta’s programs. The Samaritan House transforms lives by helping homeless men and women achieve self-sufficiency through personalized employment readiness and life stabilization programs. During the week, Café 458 serves noontime meals to homeless men and women and provides personalized case management. To learn more, check out: and

Overall, our Atlanta-based PHS officers made a great impression on the chef and the restaurant guests. Based on the positive experiences of our officers we plan to continue volunteering at Café 458 twice per year. Additionally, you can support the Samaritan House year round by volunteering on your own, dining at Café 458, or by signing up for the next ACOA community service project at Café 458. 


ACOA’s Community Service Committee to Receive Volunteer Service Group Award at the 57th Annual CDC and ATSDR Honor Awards Ceremony
Contributed by LCDR Anna Satcher Johnson & CDR Eddie Weiss

The Atlanta Commissioned Officers Association’s 2008 Community Service Committee was honored with the award for Volunteer Service - Group Category on June 11, 2009, during the 57th Annual CDC and ATSDR Honor Awards Ceremony. During 2008, ACOA’s community service committee planned and recruited volunteers for 22 volunteer projects with seven Atlanta area community organizations. Community Service projects included the USO Jean Amos Center at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Georgia Department of Transportation Adopt-a-Highway program, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, Café 458 of the Samaritan House of Atlanta, Project Open Hand, the community garden project of the Atlanta Food Bank, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. ACOA’s community service committee demonstrated outstanding planning and organization by coordinating these community service projects, which attracted twice as many volunteers as needed. We would like to congratulate the following members of ACOA’s 2008 Community Service Committee on this well deserved award: LCDR Darrlyn Cornelius-Averhart, LCDR Maleeka Glover, LCDR Juanika Mainor-Harper, LCDR Anna Satcher Johnson, LCDR Melissa Morrison, LCDR Melanie Ross, LCDR Paula Peters, LCDR Eric Pevzner, LCDR Andrea Sharma, LCDR Jacqueline Thomas, LT Adriane Niare, LCDR Jennifer Verani and CDR Eddie Weiss.

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Atlanta COA is Selected for 2008 COA Branch of the Year!
Contributed by CDR Danice Eaton

The Atlanta COA Branch was recognized as the winner of the 2008 COA Branch of the Year at this year’s USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium in Atlanta. The Commissioned Officers Association Board of Directors recognizes exceptional accomplishments of a COA Branch at each annual meeting. In making its decision, the Board considers a variety of factors, including membership participation in branch activities, frequency of meetings and events, and scope of content covered at meetings.

The Atlanta COA Branch is the 2nd largest independent branch of national COA. Atlanta COA exists as the only professional organization serving the needs and supporting the interests of over 600 active duty USPHS Commissioned Corps officers assigned to the Atlanta area. Historically, ACOA has been one of the most active branches of the Commissioned Officers’ Association of the US Public Health Service.

ACOA has a strong tradition of excellence in support of its officers and the community that continues to expand with each passing year. ACOA has been innovative in developing ideas and opportunities for officers to serve and 2008 proved to be an especially noteworthy year. In every instance, ACOA has been recognized both by its officers and the community as demonstrating a spirit of excellence in its support and service activities.

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President's Column

D. Ross Spears, CDR, USPHS

When I was a youngster (a VERY long time ago), a teacher held a book up in the air over a table. The book, she said, had potential energy. As long as it stayed still, and hung in the air, the book made no sound and did nothing. Suddenly the teacher released the book and it hit the table with a bang. The motion, the loud noise, the book flying open, was kinetic energy. This, said my teacher, was energy in motion. I’ve thought about that example for 40 years, and now as President of ACOA, understand the meaning more fully than ever.

In June of this month, ACOA served as host branch for the 2009 Commissioned Officers’ Foundation Conference. Given the attendance, the pre-conference training, and the quality of conference presentations, the event was a huge success. The conference was largely organized by Leading Edge, but was heavily supported by ACOA members and specially formed committees. There is no way in this short column to list all the members of ACOA who did so much to support COF and the conference. However, I want to give you as readers as flavor of some of the efforts behind the scenes. These are just some examples of leadership in motion, of potential unleashed, of ACOA kinetic energy.

CDR Edecia Richards led the Surgeon/General’s Run/Walk committee. She and her group were given a tight budget and deadlines to design a race T-shirt, make recommendations for a course and layout, and provide volunteers to support the race. CDR Richards, although involved in time-intensive efforts that included re-organizing the Atlanta Honor Cadre and a heavy travel schedule, led her committee in such extras as arranging transport from the hotel to the race venue, providing a changing room for local officers, stuff pre-race bags, order awards and even obtain sponsors. All volunteers were on time and on budget and the 5K, run/walk was a huge success.

LCDR Aimee Trefilletti, because of her successes in marketing JOAG merchandise was asked to co-lead the Merchandising Committee along with another long-time member and supporter of ACOA, LT Chris Fletcher. The committee designed some awesome T-shirts, magnets, and more. They selected vendors, quantities of merchandise, and much more. They coordinated the staffing of the booth, oversaw sales, and ensured that all went well. The committee showed initiative and creativity. Once set in motion, they exceeded all expectations—an example of kinetic energy.

Other groups showed tremendous kinetic energy. CAPT Bruce Tierney and CDR Daphne Moffett led the drive to raise conference attendance to record levels. They worked tirelessly to attract civil service attendees, reach out to local public health, and to national organizations in Atlanta with an interest in attending. LT Jamie Mutter, while also working the promotion ceremony with LCDR Michael King, led the committee that provided general volunteers for various duties at the conference, including the dinner registration, conference usher duties, and more. CAPT Hugh Mainzer, a long time ACOA supporter and member, worked diligently on the Georgia Aquarium function. Finally, in addition to his duties as ACOA Vice President, LT Jasen Kunz provided overall coordination of the various committees, ensuring that they received adequate guidance and support from ACOA’s Executive Committee.

The sum total of the energetic leadership—kinetic leadership, if you will—was amazing to watch, and awe-inspiring to be a part of. The officers named here were just a few of the many ACOA members who donated time and effort to making the 2009 Conference one of the best ever. PHS officers never cease to amaze me with their leadership, abilities, initiative, and dedication. From my experience, ACOA officers, are great examples of energetic leaders. On behalf of the Executive Committee, let me express my deep and sincere thanks, and highest regards, to all Atlanta-area officers who supported the conference and worked hard to make it such as success.

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The Signal, Volume 18, Issue 6666