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Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement
Issue 10October 1996Volume 1 - Number 10

Welcome to Issue 10 of the CANDOER News. Suggestions as to what you would like to see in the CANDOER are welcome. Letters to the editor, articles consisting of general information, feature articles, G-rated jokes, or poems, written/submitted by retirees or OC/IM employees, past or present, will be published, unedited. Material may be submitted on a 3.5" floppy disk (disk will be returned) using WordPerfect Version 6.1 or earlier (if it contains graphics), on a plain sheet of paper (if it has no graphics) or via e-mail. The deadline for submitting material is no later than the 25th of each month. Material received after that date will be published in the next issue of the CANDOER, space allowing. Please, restrict articles/submissions to two single spaced, typed pages. No hand written submissions, please.

The snail-mail address for submissions or letters to the editor is:

Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
Publisher/Editor CANDOER News
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062


On November 5, 1996, a very important election will be held. This election, and the results thereof, may well affect each and every one of us. I implore you to vote for the candidate(s) of your choice. As retirees, we all have a lot at stake. I am not going to pretend I know which candidate(s) you should vote for, only to request that you do VOTE. The results of this election could very well have a large impact on all of our lives as we enter the 21st Century.


The following letter was received from Nancy Terry in response to the card and letter of condolences the CANDOER Luncheon Group sent to her, upon learning of the death of Paul.

Eugene Oregon
28 August 1996

Dear Members of the CANDOER LUNCHEON GROUP, Thank you so much for your kind note and card. It means a lot to me.

In recent weeks and months Paul talked a lot about the old Communications days. Many of the names on your list of members sound familiar. He would have loved to have talked to many of you.

One of our sons, Sean, is in the "Foreign Circus" now, assigned to the Office of the Secretary at "Mother State" -- so we keep up on the news there.

Thank you for thinking of me.

/s/ Nancy Terry




Social Security computes the average of earnings differently depending on your age. If you reached age 62 or became disabled on or before December 31, 1978, the computation is simple: Social Security averages the actual dollar value of your total past earnings.

If you turned 62 or became disabled on or after January 1, 1979, Social Security divides your earnings into two categories: earnings from before 1951 are credited with their actual dollar amount, up to a maximum of $3,000 per year; and from 1951 on, yearly limits are placed on earnings credits, no mater how much you actually earned in those years. For 1996 that amount is $62,500 per year.

Social Security benefits are based on earnings averaged over most of a worker's lifetime. This is different from many other pensions plans that are usually based on a relatively small number of years of earnings.

The method of figuring retirement benefits is as follows:

Step 1 - First, your earnings covered by Social Security are listed starting with 1951.

Step 2 - Next, your earnings are adjusted for changes in average wages over the years. For example, average earnings for 1993 are five times greater than average earnings were for 1956. To make 1965 earnings comparable with current earnings, they are multiplied by five. Earnings are adjusted for each year up to the year you reach age 60. The adjustment factor becomes smaller the closer you get to the present. After you reach age 60, actual earnings are used.

Step 3 - From this list the highest years of earnings are selected to figure your benefit. For nearly everyone retiring now and in the future, 35 years of earnings are used to figure retirement benefits. If you haven't worked for 35 years, they add years of "zero" earnings to your record to total 35 years.

Step 4 - The earnings for these years are totaled and divided by 420 (the number of months in 35 years) to get your average monthly earnings. This is the number used to figure your benefit rate.

Step 5 - A three-level formula is applied to your average monthly earnings to arrive at an actual benefit rate. For example, for people born in 1933:

1. They multiply the first $426 of your monthly earnings by 90%.

2. They multiply the next $2,141 of your earnings by 32%.

3. They multiply an remaining amount by 15%.

The results are added together and rounded to the next lower dime. This is your basic full retirement rate.

A new formula is set each year for people reaching 62 that year. The percentages remain the same, but the dollar amounts change. Even if you don't retire until later, they will figure your benefits using the formula based on the year you turned 62. They don't use this formula if you also get, or are eligible for, a pension based on work where you didn't pay Social Security taxes.


The Social Security Administration keeps a running computer account of your earnings record and the work credits, tracking both through your Social Security number. And based on those figures, Social Security can give you an estimate of what your retirement benefits would be if you were to claim retirement at age 62, 65 or older.


Mistakes do occur in official earnings records. Mistakes are thought to be in as many as 3% of all records. If you believe a mistake has been made in your earnings record, you can do something about it, even if it concerns wages from many years past.

Gather evidence of your past earnings. This can be done by asking your current and/or past employers to verify your Social Security earnings or by using copies of past tax returns, W-2 forms, pay stubs, etc. Once you have the evidence of your covered earnings in the year/years for which you think Social Security made and error, call Social Security's help line at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or call your local Social Security office and make an appointment to see someone there. You do not have to have an appointment, but if you are a walk-in customer, you are served on a first-come-first-served basis, and you could wait a considerable amount of time for service.

Because mistakes do occur, it is important that you keep accurate records of your past earnings.


1929 or later 40


You become eligible to claim retirement benefits when you turn 62. Monthly Social Security benefits for retiring at age 62 are about 19.75% less than if you want until age 65; about 13.33% less if you retire at 63; 6.66% less if you retire at age 64. The reduction in monthly benefits is permanent. The age for full retirement will be going up gradually, from 65 to 67, for people who were born after 1937. For those people, retirement benefits will still be available as early as age 62, but the amount will be reduced even further than the current figures.


YearFull Retirement Age
193865 years, 2 months
193965 years, 4 months
194065 years, 6 months
194165 years, 8 months
194265 years, 10 months
1943-195466 years
195566 years, 2 months
1960 or later67 years


If you wait until after your full retirement age to claim Social Security retirement benefits, your benefit amounts will be permanently higher.


Year Born% Increase
1943 or later8.0


Actual retirement benefits may be as low as a few dollars a month, and as high as $1,200 per month for a person first retiring at age 65 in 1996.

The only way to get an accurate estimate of how much your retirement benefits will be is to request an official estimate from Social Security. The accuracy of the figures you receive will depend on how close you are to claiming retirement when you get your estimate.


You can earn up to four work credits each year, but no more than four regardless of how much you earn. Before 1978, work credits were measured in quarter-year periods; January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December.

Between 1936 and 1978, you received one credit for each quarter in which you were paid $50 or more in wages in covered employment.

Between 1951 and 1978, you received one credit for each quarter in which you earned and reported $100 or more from self-employment.

Beginning in 1978, the rules were changed to make it easier to earn credits. From 1978 on, you received a credit for each fixed amount of earnings from covered employment regardless of the quarter in which you earned it, up to four credits per year. This means that if you earned all your money during one part of the year and nothing during other parts of the year, you could still accumulate the full four credits. The amount needed to earn one credit increases yearly. In 1995, it was $630. The amount needed for 1996 will not be calculated until after January 1, 1997.


People who have worked both at government agency jobs and jobs covered by Social Security are subject to a "windfall elimination provision." In certain cases, if the "windfall elimination provision" does not affect you, the "government pension offset" may.

This provision primarily affects people who spent part of their careers working for a government agency, and also worked at other jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify for retirement or disability benefits. It also may affect you if you worked in any job where you didn't pay Social Security taxes, such as in a foreign country.

The modified formula applies to you if you reach 62 or become disabled after 1985 and first become eligible after 1985 for a monthly pension based in whole or in part on work where you did not pay Social Security taxes.

The modified formula is used in figuring your Social Security benefit beginning with the first month you get both a Social Security benefit and the other pension.

Social Security benefits replace a percentage of a worker's pre-retirement earnings. The formula used to compute benefits includes factors that ensure lower-paid workers get a higher return than highly paid workers. For example, lower-paid workers could get a Social Security benefit that equals up to 90% of their pre-retirement earnings. The average rates of return for highly paid workers is about 42%.

Before the law was changed in 1983, benefits for persons who spent time in jobs not covered by Social Security were computed as if they were long-term, low-wage workers. They received the advantage of the higher percentage benefits in addition to their other pension. The modified formula eliminates this windfall.

Social Security benefits are based on the worker's average monthly earnings adjusted for inflation. When your benefits are figured, they separate your average earnings into three amounts and multiply the figures using three factors. For example, for a worker who turns 62 in 1996, the first $437 of average monthly earnings is multiplied by 90%; the next $2,198 is multiplied by 32%; and the remainder by 15%.

The 90% factor is reduced in the modified formula and phased in for workers who reached 62 or became disabled between 1986 and 1989. For those who reach 62 or become disabled in 1990 or later, the 90% factor is reduced to 40%.

........ see November 1996, Volume 1 - Number 11, of the CANDOER News, for the Final Part


The following CANDOERs were in attendance at the September luncheon at Phineas, in Rockville: Bob Berger, Ralph Crain, Bob Catlin, Paul Del Giudice, Don Denault, Charlie Ditmeyer, Harry Laury, Doc Sloan, Don Stewart, and Val Taylor.

One of our regulars, who had not attended several luncheons due to illness, also attended. A big CANDOER Welcome Back to Bob Liebau. Great to see you back on your feet and back in circulation again.


I would like to make one last attempt to locate Tom McCay, before I give up. If anyone has ANY information on Tom, please furnish it, or contact Tom and ask him to call me. I now have two requests on Tom's whereabouts.


I talked to Mel Bladen on August 27. Mel is still working three days a week, (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) as a draw bridge operator on the bridge crossing the Patuxent River at Benedict (MD Route 231 ). He and Darlene are doing well.

I had lunch with him Babe Martin on September 3. Babe missed the August luncheon because he was traveling to Maine for his 40th year high school reunion. He also missed the September luncheon because he was again traveling, to Maine. He is now back and will be at the October luncheon at Friday's. Babe reported that Ronnie Steenhoek's father-in-law passed away last month. Ronnie and his wife have left Iowa and are again traveling. They anticipate being in this area around the Thanksgiving/Christmas period.

I talked with Anne Smith several times since the last issue of the CANDOER News. She assisted me in confirming the death of Dumont Walker. Anne said both her and Smitty are doing well and are enjoying retired life.

I received an e-mail from Ed Carroll. His wife has been hospitalized again due to another asthma attack. The high ragweed pollen count is giving Barbara a lot of trouble. Please take care of yourself. We all wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you both soon.

I received an e-mail from John Kennedy. He now has e-mail service. His e-mail address was furnished in the E-MAIL section of this issue of the CANDOER News.

In the snail-mail on September 4 a completed CANDOER Personal Data Form from Lou Correri.

In the snail-mail on September 6 I received a completed CANDOER Personal Data Form from Don Lachman. Don's address was previously published in the CANDOER News, June 1996, Volume 1 - Number 6.

I received an e-mail from Jim (Mad Dog) Norton who is assigned to American Embassy Seoul. Jim expressed a wish to receive the CANDOER News.

On September 6, the night after Hurricane Fran came ashore on the NC coast, I called and talked with Ed Fenstermacher in Wilmington, NC. Ed and Eloise are doing well They left the Wilmington area for a safe area just before the storm hit. When they returned, they found there had been no damage to their house and only minor damage to some trees and bushes on their property.

On Saturday, September 7, I received a telephone call from Robby Robinson. Robby just returned from a five-week inspection tour of the Embassy and Consulates in China, for DS. He said he is doing well and hopes to make the next luncheon at Friday's. He said he would have been there for the last one had it not been for his trip. Robby gave me a telephone number for John Turner, who is now living in Kentucky.

After receiving John's telephone number I called John. Although he was not at home, he called me back later in the evening. John said he is enjoying retirement in his home town of Bowling Green. He said he would like to hear from old friends.

On Sunday, September 7, I talked with Art Crowfoot. Art and his wife are doing well. His last day to attend the Job Search Program, and his date of retirement, is September 27. Art has indicated he is going to stay in the area after retirement. He hopes to attend the October luncheon.

I received a nice letter on September 11 from Patricia Stout, Carles' wife. On the twelfth of September they are leaving on a trip to coastal Maine. They return on the 20th and then Carles is going to drive to Virginia on the 22nd for a visit with some of his friends from IM. While in Maine they are going to visit with their older daughter, Tara, who is in the Navy and stationed in Brunswick. She has been on a six-month deployment to Panama and Puerto Rico. When he is not traveling, working on the house, in the garden or yard, Carles is working part-time for Lowe's, and enjoying "delightful visits" with his only grandchild.

I talked to Tom Warren for a few minutes on September 12. Tom gave me two more names and telephone numbers of retirees, C. Grant Shaw and Ned Paes.

I called Ned at work and talked to him for about 10 minutes. Ned is working for a Baltimore company. He is doing well. Ned said he found out about our luncheons just this past week from both Tom Warren and Don Lachman and intended to call me, but I called him before he got the chance.

I also called Grant and left a message on his answering machine. Grant called me later that evening and we talked at length. Grant is now retired retired, although he has bid on a couple of jobs. He and Mardee are enjoying life in Western Maryland.

On Saturday, September 14. I received a letter from Rod Hallen. Rod is assigned to the RIMC in New Delhi. He said he is going to retire in December "and I already have my Porsche and Harley picked out!" He is going to retire in his home town of Tombstone, Arizona.

That same evening I received another call from Robby Robinson. Robby called me to inform me of other retirees who are living in the area that may be interested in attending the CANDOER luncheon.

On Monday, September 16, 1996, I sent a letter to the below listed retirees and informed them of the CANDOER Luncheon Group:

James Amidon, Christopher Barrett, Marie Bierau, Alvin Bradshaw, Dominic Broccoli, Gene Caruso, J. Fred Carlton, Thelma Dionne, Robert Edmondson, Shirley Epstein, John Fochs, Bob Fon, Jim Hale, James Hall, Norris Hammond, Robert Hammond, Wayne Henderson, Wayne Hoshal, George Jacobson, James Leonard, Robert Lucas, Vic Maffei, Jerry Manning, Tom Murphy, Thomas O'Niel, Bill Parks, George Pearson, Rosamond Pope, Charles Reilly, Bob Richardson, Oliver Shaw, Jim Steeves, Dick Stockman, Tim Tangeman, Tim Taylor, and Dave Windle.

On Monday, September 16, I received a call from Bob Liebau. He had ran into Carter Brown and told him about our luncheons. Carter indicated he was interested. I called Carter at his place of employment and he indicated he and his wife would attend the October luncheon at Friday's.

Later in the morning, I talked with Loretta Kennedy, for about 30 minutes. She and John are doing well. They received no damage from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fran, a lot of rain, but no damage to their property.

On Wednesday, September 18, I received an e-mail from Dave Collins, IMO. Vienna. Dave is doing well. He anticipates spending another year in Vienna and then is not sure what happens after that. He indicated he may retire, take another assignment overseas, or return to mother State.

In the evening of September 19, 1996, I received a call from Warren Spurr. Warren received a call from Tim Tangeman, in response to my letter of September 16. Tim indicated he was going to try to make it to the November luncheon at Phineas.

On September 21, I called and talked with Milt Cochran. Milt is doing well. He said he is going to try to make the next luncheon at TGIFriday's.

That same afternoon, I received a call from Jim Gansel. He said his new home is on a high enough elevation at Point of Rocks so that he did not receive flood damage from Tropical Storm Fran.

On Tuesday, September 24, I had lunch with Will Naeher, Paul Del Giudice, and Ed Fenstermacher. Will missed the September luncheon because he and Doris were on a fishing trip to Canada (Twin Oaks Lodge on Kashawamac Lake in Fernleigh, Ontario), with a side trip to Rhode Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Ed is in the Washington area for a short period to attend a wedding and then he is travelling to Allentown, PA to visit relatives.

Later in the day I received a call from Tom Forbes. Tom is doing well. He is working part time. He works on Tuesdays, but hopes to be able to make a luncheon soon.


Growing Up In Nebraska

by Joe Lea

Chapter VI

As mentioned before, highway #10 which led to the county seat of Kearney was a graveled road. All the rest of the roads in our part of the county were just plain dirt--no hard surface of any kind. The nearest town, the one where we shopped for groceries, had a few sidewalks, but no paved streets. We had to travel many miles to see any pavement. No wonder we never learned to roller skate.

We did ice skate, mostly on the river, and often at night. Late November usually was cold enough to make skating ice as winter came early. By late winter ice on the river was 18 to 24 inches thick. We would build a fire right on the ice to provide a bit of warmth plus a little light. Often we skated under bright moonlight. The fire did not melt through the ice, far from it, melting down maybe an inch.

Boys began hunting in their early teens; ringedneck pheasants and ducks both had an autumn season and were fairly plentiful. At an early age, I bought a used 12 gauge shotgun at the local hardware for $3.00. The gentleman who ran the hardware sold 3 shotgun shells for 10 cents and that was usually all I could afford, so I had to make them count.


The following information was obtained from an article in Synergy written by Ms. Libby Parker, A/IM/SO/DO/SMS. This article is another article in a series I hope to publish to keep those of you who are still interested in the future of telecommunications in the Department of State fully informed (Also See CANDOER News, May 1996, Volume 1 - Number 5, Office of Chief Information Officer).

What's The Buzz?

Have you heard the buzz about SMS? By now, personnel outside of IM as well as IMers are talking about SMS. But it seems no one really knows the cold, hard facts about the basics--the down and dirty about SMS. So, in the paragraphs to follow, you'll find just the facts!

SMS (yes, another acronym to add to the Department's never ending list) stands for State Messaging System and is a modernization effort based upon the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Message System (DMS). DoD's efforts to develop DMS began in 1988. The driving force behind this development was the requirement to standardize communications, allowing different commands to communicate with one another via business quality e-mail. Like DoD, the Department of State was faced with a similar requirement--modernize and/or replace our vintage equipment and procedures to attain cost-effective messaging, or be left in the dust of a rocketing telecommunications industry. As you know, DoS has a number of e-mail systems, all of which require gateways to talk to one another. Most of us have experienced the unreliability of our mail systems and how painfully difficult and time consuming directory synchronization can be. Thus, DoS decided a cost effective solution would be to ride into the technological future on the coattails of DoD. In essence, that is what we are doing. So, you still don't understand the relationship between SMS and DMS? For all intents and purposes, SMS is DMS. Yes, it is DMS, at least until we determine a unique DoS requirement not met by DMS, at which point we will modify the system accordingly.

The two major players working with DoD to lay the foundation for DMS are the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the National Security Agency's (NSA) Multilevel Information System Security Initiative (MISSI). DISA's responsibility lies in the design and architecture of DMS. NSA's contribution lies in the security technologies of DMS. Together they are forging a system that will take technology as we know it within government today to a new plateau.

One of the characteristics of DMS that makes it so exciting is its key technology, the FORTEZZA card. The card provides encrypted message delivery and receipt functionality from writer to reader, as well as access control, nonrepudiation, data integrity, authentication, and confidentiality. What that really means is that you can send a secure message to another person and be certain that the message was delivered (reliability); and you can be sure the message was delivered to the intended recipient and the recipient can be certain that the indicated sender truly was the sender (nonrepudiation).

The other big piece to know about DMS is its use of X.400 and X.500 standards. In non-technology talk, the X.400 standards cover Message Handling Systems (MHS) dedicated to delivery criteria and security service. The X-500 standards cover the directory system defining such thing as how people or systems will access the directory and how Directory Service Agents (DSA) will communicate with one another. X.500 standards insure the user's ability to locate the proper address of another person and guarantee that directory lists are updated automatically to minimize time spend on manual synchronization. Finally, another major characteristic of DMS is its use of commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and software, which means DoS can pick from the various DMS compliant product vendors to determine which product or products will best suite the needs of the Department of State.

By now you're probably wondering how SMS will affect you and your colleagues in the workplace. In truth, when full implemented, by the year 2000, SMS will have a significant impact on the way we at DoS handle our day-to-day foreign affairs work. Essentially, DMS will restructure our traditional communications programs providing a desktop-to-desktop connection that will span as short a distance as to the PC in the next room, or as great a distance as from Washington, D.C., to Micronesia. We will no longer be limited to text-based messages but will be able to attach encrypted spreadsheets, graphics, and even audio and video clips eventually. We will be running with the age of multimedia. We need to, and will be able to , communicate with our colleagues in other agencies as well as with those in private industry. SMS will enable us to do so without compromising our security requirements. But the biggest new of all is that SMS will provide official and unofficial communications via e-mail all as part of ONE system. In essence, the user will be directly responsible for information resource management.

The transition to SMS will not happen overnight. We have a long road ahead of us, one which we are paving inch-by-inch. The SMS team feels strongly about the benefits that SMS will bring not only within our own environment, but throughout the greater foreign affairs community of which we are a part. In short, the team believes that SMS is the Department of State's opportunity to run with the big dogs rather than be left on the porch!


Bells (or belles) in Moscow

By James F. Prosser

For many years the U.S. security practice was that diplomatic couriers to and from Russia traveled in pairs to avoid any potential semblance of compromise. The KGB frequently attempted to have foreign diplomatic personnel photographed in sexual liaisons for future blackmail. In 1972 the couriers stayed in the Hotel Ukraine not too far from the Embassy.

The paired couriers this particular trip from Frankfurt via Vienna were Joel Bell and Larry Bell (no relation). Joel was always the joker, Larry just the opposite, quiet and serious.

By prior agreement between themselves, they executed a plan to play a prank on the KGB. Upon arriving in their room at the Hotel Ukraine (always bugged), they spoke to each other about their personal preference in girls for a date. Joel mentioned how he really liked pretty brunettes, but not too tall; whereas Larry described the tall, statuesque blonde women of his dreams.

A couple of hours later, they decided to go downstairs to the restaurant for dinner. From the upper floors of the Hotel Ukraine, one could not take the elevator direct to the main lobby. You had to change elevators at about the 10th floor. They exited on the 10th floor and walked over to the direct lobby elevator, where they were joined by two beautiful Russian girls, one tall statuesque brunette, and a petite blonde. The girls asked the Bells in perfect English if they could join them for dinner rather than dine alone.

Joel comments to Larry; "See Larry, the KGB can never get it right."


See you next month.

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