American Eagle

Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement
      January 2013Winter IssueVolume 12 - Number 4

Welcome to the latest issue of the newsletter dedicated to the CANDOERs (Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement). This newsletter will be distributed quarterly. New issues will be posted on the Web for viewing on or about, January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15.

The CANDOER Web site and newsletter may be viewed by going to the following URL:

The success of this newsletter depends on you. I need story contributors. Do you have an interesting article, a nostalgia item, a real life story, or a picture you would like to share with others? Do you have a snail-mail or an e-mail address of one of our former colleagues? If you do, send it to me at the following e-mail address:

or to my snail-mail address:

Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Tel: (301) 283-6549

Please, NO handwritten submissions.

This newsletter is available free on the Web to any and all who worked with or for employees of DC, OC, IRM, IM, or LM.

This publication is available on the Web only.

None of the material in this newsletter has a copyright, unless otherwise noted. If you wish to print the newsletter and make copies to distribute to others, please feel free to do so.

The CANDOER News will be available in three formats: the first format is a Web Page; the second format is an Adobe PDF file; the third format is a Microsoft Word document.

The PDF file (Adobe Acrobat) and Microsoft Word document will allow you to print the newsletter.

If you are unable to read the PDF formatted newsletter, go to and download the FREE reader. When installed on your computer, it will allow the automatic opening of the PDF file.

Did you know the saying "God willing and the Creek don't rise" was in reference to the Creek Indians and
not a body of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician
and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return
to Washington. In his response, he was said to write, "God willing and the Creek don't rise." Because he
capitalized the word "Creek"it is deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not a body of water.
Cat's Corner

I can't believe it . . . another year gone. It has now been 18 years since I retired from State and eight since I left Pro-telligent. Time sure flies when you're having fun.

I had another great spring, summer, and fall of fishing. In October alone I caught well over 300 fish. About the 15th of September I quit fishing for bass and started fishing for crappie and white perch. I had fantastic luck in fishing for both. I hated to see the cold weather move in and chase me off the water.

Included in this issue is a FTC report on Identity Theft that I feel may be useful to many CANDOERs.

The article "Think before you donate" was sent to me by CANDOER Marv Konopik.

The article "Veteran's ID Card" was sent to me by CANDOER Stu Branch (DASC Retired).

The one-liners shown in this issue were sent to me by an alumnus of my high school and are entitled, "Historical Trivia."

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women
kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs.
Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would
carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and
fluffy, hence the term 'big wig'... Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears
to be or is powerful and wealthy.
Letter to the Editor

The following was received from Tim Lawson.

I thought I might share this with you as I found it kind of funny and perhaps revealing.

With Thai schools out for almost all of October each year, my wife and my son departed Hua Hin this past Sunday to visit her home village and her mother, father, sisters, and brother. Her family lives deep inside a rather remote Thai jungle village located in a largely isolated place. In fact, when I first visited her home many years ago, I was shocked to find her parents living in a simple, one-room, bamboo hut. They are extremely poor by our own standards. But in many ways they are also rich. It was not until after the village neighbors discovered that my wife, Auemporn, had married a man who "worked for the American Embassy" that yours truly found myself pressed into paying for a new and "more appropriate" house for her mother and father. The house I had built for them is nice, but it's not really all that much and consists only of three small rooms and a front porch. But it is made of concrete and stone and by any measure, is a far cry from that bamboo hut, which consisted in part of twigs, roots and other elements of nature. This is the norm even now, in many parts of "upcountry" Thailand. The use of beds is frowned upon by most strict Buddhists and when I first met Auemporn's parents in the jungle, "candle-power" was the only source of electricity -- thus, aircon was then and still is now, for them, out of the question.

Now to the gist of my email: When I contacted Auemporn by cell phone last night after her and my son Purin had arrived at her family home, I asked how everyone was and how it was going. She responded that it was fine and that her parents were well. She then told me that instead of returning home on Saturday, as originally planned, they might return to Hua Hin a few days earlier. When I asked why, her response was not fully clear -- then suddenly my son grabbed the cell phone from her and said: "Dad! Do you know they have no aircon here and only one small fan? Plus, I and my mother are having a tough time sleeping on this floor! There are no beds here you know." He then said goodbye and handed the cell phone to his mother. Auemporn's last words were "Yes, we miss our home, our beds and our aircon. We will be coming back soon."

The moral of the story: When you have a wife who is married to a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer its best to keep in mind that you can take the Thai girl out of the jungle, but you cannot take beds and aircon from the Foreign Service wife that she became (and my son, too). Now, let me check that electricity bill again. :) Hope you enjoyed this short and true story. And wow, do I ever miss my wife and son -- couldn't make it without them!
Best regards,
Tim & Family

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons.
Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However,
how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with
one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be
stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one to prevent the bottom layer
from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations.
However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to
make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled...
Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron
cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls
off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression,
didn't you.)
You Think You Got Problems
By John Lemandri

As I age in retirement my illnesses increase both in severity and number. What really troubles me is that my multiple personality disorder is getting worse. From an initial four people within me, we now have a fifth, a woman, and not very likable either. Whereas being all male made it easy to come to consensus. Now each and every decision is fraught with bickering and snapping at one another. Why, just the other night over some silly remark, things got so bad that one side of me was punching the other while the other was scratching the opposite side of my face. Neighbors had to call the police before I killed myself. It's enough to make a grown man sick. Now I'm even cross-dressing. Damn that bitch!

By the way, Webster's definition of conspiracy is collusion between two or more people. If a person has multiple personalities and plans to commit a crime, would that be considered conspiracy? I guess I would have to hire a mentally deranged attorney to figure that one out.

Thank God I don't have Alzheimer's like my uncle. He was always trying to commit suicide. One day he would find the gun, but forget where he put the bullets. The next day he would find the bullets, but forgot where he put the gun. This went on for 20 years. Drove the rest of us so damn mad that we threatened to shoot him, at which he forgot all about killing himself.

You don't have to be nuts to write these stories, but it helps.

At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's
job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay
close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints'
and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the phrase 'minding your 'P's and Q's'.
My two year tour with a 16' Boston Whaler
By Charles Christian

Embassy Muscat had a Dauntless model that was for the use of the embassy personnel for pleasure and the great fishing nearby. We had it stored at the local yacht club with a great sandy beach, club house with bar, diner food, roofed picnic tables, and tables and chairs on the veranda out front overlooking the private beach.

I had the control of the boat and the three membership passes which were kept by the USMC guard at Post 1 in the lobby of the embassy. They had a log book and also a waiting list to maintain. After a day use of the pass you had to turn it back in to the Marine the next morning.

Once an Army Major took a pass and thought he would just keep it for awhile. As I was not military, and he had no connection with me other then the communications we furnished his office. I contacted him via office memo and told him he was to turn that pass in immediately back to Post 1. (I think I sent a CC copy of it to the Ambassador). Do not remember the Major ever speaking to me again.

The boat was great in heavy seas and it was very controllable with a 100 HP Mercury outboard (6 HP backup engine). It was used close to shore up or down the coast with the south being the preferred direction for some unpopulated scenery of barren mountains, rocky islands, and a very nice deserted, sandy beach that was protected by a close-in rocky islet with narrow passage on one side to keep the small bay protected from wind and waves. Just behind the beach was a deserted native mud village from hundreds of years ago for exploring. It was always the favorite picnic beach for everyone.

One of the 10 TDY communicators (all of them outranked me) I had during my tour (I was 6 months acting Communication Programs Officer) and I checked the boat out for an outing down the coast with some cold beer and snacks. We went to that sheltered beach where we just hung around for awhile, drinking, chatting, and watching a group of other Europeans swimming who had also boated down, as getting there by vehicle was difficult. Soon it was getting late in the afternoon and a very strong wind came up making heavy seas in the narrow gaps to the open water. The others were so concerned that they said they would stay until it blew over no matter how long it took rather then risk swamping in the now violent ocean.

I knew the ability well of the Boston Whaler with that big engine. I felt confident that it would be a piece of cake to pass safely. I told my companion I was going to do it and he turned almost white and asked me not to. As I was the captain I acknowledged his concern and decided to go regardless. As I hit the violent waves and wind I gunned the engine. She went straight through with no hesitation or deviation from a straight shot out to sea. It was as easy as I had thought. We then went back to the club, where soon a driver with a wheeled tractor brought our trailer. My friend had almost nothing to say during the time we went to my apartment for our Happy Hour and where I quickly broke out some quality bourbon. He drank almost half a fifth before I took him back to his hotel and still he had little to say to me. I guess he was pretty upset about the experience and held me in some contempt. He soon left town. As he was not writing my next ER, my only concern was having his displeasure. I never had any contact with him during the rest of my time with the State Dept. (I am sorry, Fred!)

Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when
purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades...'
To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards,
these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck.'
What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.

Identity thieves might:

Go through trash cans and dumpsters, stealing bills and documents that have sensitive information.
Work for businesses, medical offices, or government agencies, and steal personal information on the job.
Misuse the name of a legitimate business, and call or send emails that trick you into revealing personal information.
Pretend to offer a job, a loan, or an apartment, and ask you to send personal information to "qualify."
Steal your wallet, purse, backpack, or mail, and remove your credit cards, driver's license, passport, health insurance card, and other items that show personal information.

How to Protect Your Information

Read your credit reports. You have a right to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order all three reports at once, or order one report every four months. To order, go to or call 1-877-322-8228.
Read your bank, credit card, and account statements, and the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan. If a statement has mistakes or doesn't come on time, contact the business.
Shred all documents that show personal, financial, and medical information before you throw them away.
Don't respond to email, text, and phone messages that ask for personal information. Legitimate companies don't ask for information this way. Delete the messages.
Create passwords that mix letters, numbers, and special characters. Don't use the same password for more than one account.
If you shop or bank online, use websites that protect your financial information with encryption. An encrypted site has "https" at the beginning of the web address; "s" is for secure.
If you use a public wireless network, don't send information to any website that isn't fully encrypted.
Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall on your computer.
Set your computer's operating system, web browser, and security system to update automatically.

If your identity is stolen ... flag your credit reports.

Call one of the nationwide credit reporting companies, and ask for a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call must contact the other two so they can put fraud alerts on your files. An initial fraud alert is good for 90 days.
Equifax 1-800-525-6285
Experian 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion 1-800-680-7289

Order Your Credit Reports

Each company's credit report about you is slightly different, so order a report from each company. When you order, you must answer some questions to prove your identity. Read your reports carefully to see if the information is correct. If you see mistakes or signs of fraud, contact the credit reporting company.

Create an Identity Theft Report

An Identity Theft Report can help you get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts caused by identity theft, and get information about accounts a thief opened in your name. To create an Identity Theft Report:
file a complaint with the FTC at or 1-877-438-4338; TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Your completed complaint is called an FTC Affidavit.
take your FTC Affidavit to your local police, or to the police where the theft occurred, and file a police report. Get a copy of the police report.

The two documents comprise an Identity Theft Report.

Veterans Designation on Drivers Licenses or State ID Cards

Several months ago Rob Robinson sent CANDOERs information about a program in Virginia whereby you could get a Veterans ID Card that could be used to get discounts in various stores.

Stu Branch, in researching this found that many states offer either a Veterans ID Card, or the ability to have the Veterans Designation added to your driver's license.

The following information, received from Stu, explains where and how to get these identification cards or veterans designation.

It can be difficult for military veterans to prove they served in the military. The only federally issued military ID cards are military retiree ID cards, veterans ID cards issued by the VA for eligible veterans, and other veterans on a limited basis. Veterans who are ineligible for one of these ID cards are often left without an official ID card that proves they served in the military.

Some veterans get around this by carrying around a copy of their DD form 214, but this presents several issues: it is not a photo ID, so many places won't accept it, it is bulky and difficult to carry in one's wallet, and it has the veterans Social Security number on it, which presents an identity theft risk if it is stolen. Thankfully, many states are taking notice of this and are including a veteran's designation on driver's licenses and state issued ID cards. Some states, such as Virginia, are issuing a separate photo ID that identifies veterans.

States that Offer a Veteran Designation on Drivers Licenses and ID Cards

We have compiled a list of states that now offer a military service or veteran's designation on driver's licenses and their state issued ID cards. These cards 'can often be used for military and veterans discounts, or to prove you served in the military. However, it's important to note that these ID cards are not official military ID cards in the sense that they will allow you to enter a military post or receive military benefits. You will need to show your DD Form 214 or other official military documents to receive military benefits.

There are currently 27 states that feature a veterans designation on drivers licenses or have legislation that permit the issuance of a separate veterans ID card at the state or county level. (Note: some of the 27 states recently passed legislation and haven't yet begun issuing the veterans IDs).

Legislation to add a military service designation on state issued ID cards is currently pending in 13 states and 10 states currently do not have any pending legislation to add a military service or veterans designation to drivers licenses (12 if you count Washington D.C among those without pending legislation).

Status of Veterans Designations on Drivers Licenses
Alabama None
Alaska Pending Legislation (HB 180)
ArizonaPending Legislation
ArkansasDrivers License Designation
CaliforniaPending Legislation (SB 1355)
Connecticut Drivers License Designation
Delaware Drivers License Designation
Florida Drivers License Designation
GeorgiaDrivers License Designation
Illinois Drivers License Designation
Indiana Drivers License Designation
Iowa Drivers License Designation
Kansas None
Kentucky Drivers License Designation
Louisiana Drivers License Designation
Maine Drivers License Designation
Maryland Drivers License Designation
Massachusetts Drivers License Designation
Michigan Pending Legislation (House Bill 4127)
Minnesota Drivers License Designation
Mississippi Drivers License Designation
Missouri Drivers License Designation
Montana None
Nebraska None
Nevada Pending Proposal in 2013
New Hampshire Pending Legislation (SB 313)
New Jersey Veterans ID Cards Available at County Level
New Mexico None
New York Pending Legislation (S 6453-2011)
North Carolina Drivers License Designation
North Dakota Drivers License Designation
Ohio Drivers License Designation
Oklahoma Pending Governors Signature (SB 138)
Oregon Drivers License Designation
Puerto Rico Drivers License Designation
Pennsylvania Drivers License Legislation (HB 2428)
Rhode Island Pending Legislation
South CarolinaDrivers License Designation
South Dakota Drivers License Designation
Tennessee Drivers License Designation (fall 2012)
Texas Drivers License Designation
Utah Drivers License Designation
Vermont None
Virginia Separate Veterans ID Card
Washington Pending Legislation (House Bill 2378)
Washington D.C. None
West Virginia Pending Legislation (HB 4082)
Wisconsin Pending Legislation
Wyoming None

How to Get a Veterans Designation on Your Drivers License

If you live in a state that offers the military designation on state issued drivers licenses and ID cards, then you will need to bring a copy of your DD Form 214, DD Form 215, or other discharge paperwork, along with any additional paperwork required by your state (most states require a copy of your birth certificate, social security card, passport, or some other form of identification). You should be able to find a specific list by contacting your state department of motor vehicles (DMV) by phone, or by visiting their website.

The military service designation is new in many states, so it may not have been available when you last renewed your driver's license or ID card. Virtually every state will require you pay a replacement fee if you want to get a new card with the veterans designation before your old license has expired. Each state has different rules and costs for this, so please contact your state DMV in advance.

If you live in one of the states that doesn't offer a veterans designation on driver's licenses, then you will need to contact your state representative and ask them to sponsor a bill to make this happen. The good news is there is a growing trend for states to offer this feature to their veterans, and there is very little expense in making this happen. So there is really no reason why states shouldn't offer their veterans the ability to show a state recognized proof of service.

FYI: This information may also be found at the following:

Take care and be safe!
See you next quarter!

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