The Signal  Newsletter

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

Vol 21, Issue 3                                                                                              October 2011


President's Column

Calendar of Events

1. Save the Date! 5th Annual Atlanta Area Anchor and Caduceus Dinner, Saturday, January 28, 2012
2. ACOA meal delivery volunteer opportunity with Project Open Hand, Saturday, October 1, 2011
3. ACOA Lunch and Learn – 2011 COER, Wednesday, September 14, 2011
4. Call for Self-Nominations: 2012 ACOA Executive Committee, deadline COB Friday, October 14, 2011
5. USPHS Merchandise for Sale

1. ACOA Community Service Project with Café 458
2. Atlanta Community Food Bank
3. Breman Home BINGO Project
4. Camp Children’s Summertime Fun!
5. Deepwater Horizon a Look Back at CDC/ATSDR’s Support Efforts
6. Fall Food Finds
7. Three Tips (and a trick) to Earning Your Field Medical Readiness Badge
8. ACOA Volunteers at St. Francis Table
9. 2011 Atlanta-area USPHS Commissioned Corps Promotion Ceremony a Big Success!

President's Column

Chris Fletcher, LT, USPHS, ACOA President

Fellow officers and ACOA members, welcome to the home stretch for the 2011 ACOA operating year. This year has been marked by great success inside the ACOA organization. ACOA was awarded the 2010 Branch of the Year at this summer’s USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium in New Orleans. This award is a testament to the great work that ACOA does on a daily basis. I am truly humbled to work in the presence of such dedicated and professional officers. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the officers promoted at the 2011 CDC/ACOA promotion ceremony. I would also be remiss if I did not thank the officers who volunteered their time to make the ceremony an overwhelming success. It is ACOA’s intention to build on this successful event by providing another lively and entertaining Anchor and Caduceus Dinner in January. I will talk about the dinner in detail later; however, I need to address a rather serious issue first.

Most officers stationed at CDC are aware of a series of messages from CDC Commissioned Officer leadership about the daily wearing of the uniform. It is unfortunate this subject must be revisited during a time when national COA leadership is fighting tooth and nail to ensure parity amongst the other services. The transferability of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is a tremendous victory for the USPHS and something we can all be proud off. However, with this parity comes the reminder we took an oath to protect the health and security of this country, and at the very core of this oath is the basic principle of wearing the uniform daily. Being a USPHS commissioned officer, it is vital that we wear the uniform daily with pride and dignity just like our sister services.

For more information on wearing the uniform correctly, the instructions are clearly outlined in our Electronic Commissioned Corps Issuance System (eCCIs). Additionally, ACOA provides a Lunch and Learn each summer on how to properly wear the PHS uniform. The slides from this year’s presentation can be found here and on the ACOA website. They are an excellent resource that CAPT Tierney spends much time on ensuring accuracy and up-to-date information.

I hope you have all seen the Save the Date announcement and made a note on your 2012 calendar to attend the 2012 Anchor and Caduceus Dinner on January28th. Preparations are underway for another outstanding evening. Like last year, we can only entertain approximate 150 people in the venue so grab your tickets as soon as they go on sale! The keynote speaker and location of the dinner will be announced soon so please watch the listserv for further announcements.

All of our committees are running smoothly. There are numerous volunteer opportunities, professional development opportunities, and opportunities to help plan the events themselves. If you need more information about any event, check the ACOA website for announcements and updates or contact information for each committee.

You might notice the lack of an event this fall. The Executive Committee has decided not to hold the annual Fall Social this year. In the past, attendance has not been strong and last year so few purchased tickets that the event was cancelled. If you have comments or suggestions or ideas for future Fall Socials, please send them to me at and I will provide them to the 2012 EC for future consideration.

Don’t forget to check out the PHS and Commissioned Corps Esprit de Corps merchandise available on the ACOA website. The merchandise makes great gifts for retirement ceremonies, special occasions, or to display in your home or office.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to become more involved.


LT Chris Fletcher

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Calendar of Events

Community Service

Professional Development

Special Events