Rosemary Mariner, the U.S. Navy's first female jet pilot and the first woman in the armed forces to command an operational air squadron, was given the first all-female flyover at her funeral Saturday in Maynardville, Tenn. Mariner died of ovarian cancer Jan. 24 in Knoxville, Tenn. She was 65.

Mariner completed flight training in 1974 and flew the A-4E/L Skyhawk and A-7E Corsair II. In 1982, she was among the first women to serve aboard a warship, the USS Lexington, and qualified as a surface warfare officer. During Operation Desert Storm, the first Iraq war, she commanded Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 34.

She retired as a captain from the Navy in 1997 after logging 17 carrier-arrested landings, or “traps,” and completing more than 3,500 flight hours in 15 different aircraft.

The Missing Man Flyover honors aviators who have died in service. The maneuver features four aircraft flying above the funeral service in formation as one of the aircraft leaves the formation and climbs vertically into the sky. All of the aviators participating in Mariner's flyover were from squadrons based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and flew  F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. They were led by Cmdr. Stacy Uttecht, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 32.

Rhode Island

“Veterans Front and Center,” a monthly veterans program on Capitol Television, began on Jan. 30. It is co-hosted by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson, D-Warwick, and Margie O'Brien Capitol TV director.

The program will highlight military veterans’ issues and share “war stories” about Rhode Island veterans. The idea for the show came from the House Veterans Advisory Committee.

“I sincerely hope members of our veteran community will reach out to me to share their ideas and stories,” said Vella-Wilkinson, a retired naval officer. “My goal is to use this venue as a bridge to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. Let’s chronicle and preserve our military history.”

Warrior Caregivers

Join the Easterseals Connecticut Veterans Rally Point for a free Warrior Caregiver Retreat on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the rally point, 24 Stott Ave., Norwich. Are you living with a veteran who has received a diagnosis of PTSD, TBI, or military sexual trauma? Do you feel selfish when you try to carve out time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate? Do you feel alone and overwhelmed?

The retreat will include meditation and yoga, a special guest speaker, lunch, peer-to-peer discussion and wrap-up. Space is limited so please register by Feb. 19. Limited on-site child care will be provided, first come, first serve. Please wear comfortable clothes. An eventbrite link to Free Warrior Caregiver Retreat can be used to register.

Women Veterans

The Providence VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Ave., will host its next women's veterans networking meeting from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Feb. 21. The session will be on the fifth floor of the center, Classroom 2. Questions? Contact Tonya McConnell, Women Veteran Program manager, at 401-273-7100 ext. 6191.

Another program at the center will be held on Friday, March 22, from 1 to 3 p.m., also in the fifth-floor classrooms. Topics of discussion with guest speakers will include menopause, suicide prevention, veteran-owned businesses, and wellness.


Legislation

These veterans-related bills have been introduced in the Rhode Island Senate:

SB 132, by Felag, Sosnowski, Raptakis, McCaffrey, and Seveney, would increase the exemption for retirement income from state income tax from $15,000 to $20,000 beginning in 2020.

SB 151, by Felag, Raptakis, Seveney, Ciccone, and DiPalma, would amend the definition of "disabled" for the purpose of property tax relief to include veterans who earn less than $30,000 annually and who receive disability benefits.

SB 178, by Felag, Raptakis, Seveney, Ciccone, and DiPalma, would authorize state higher education institutions to waive application and transcript fees for veterans..

 Post 8955

The Amancio-Falcone-Gaccione post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is happy to announce the return of our wonderful pasta dinner on Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. This event is open to the public. The dinner includes the pasta bar, salad, bread, dessert and beverages. Tickets will be sold at the door, $20 each. Proceeds will benefit area veterans.

Project Outreach: This service is available to all veterans and their families who need information regarding resources and agencies that are available. Our outreach officer is ready to meet with you the first Wednesday and third Monday of each month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Post Home. Appointments are not needed to meet with the service officer, Walter Kimball; 401-596-0470.

The VFW welcomes as members all who meet our eligibility criteria. It is through service to this country that all our members have earned their elite status. If you have received a campaign medal for overseas service; have served 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days in Korea; or have ever received hostile fire or imminent danger pay, then you're eligible to join our ranks.

New members are always welcome to attend our monthly meetings. The next one is Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at our Post Home, 113 Beach St. in Westerly. Meetings are the first Wednesday of each month. If you know of a comrade or family of comrade in distress please contact Comrade Dora Vasquez-Hellner, 401-212-6377 for assistance.

This week in military history: In 1964 – G.I. Joe debuted as a popular American toy.

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