What is an RAO?

Retiree Activities Program

The Ramstein Air Base Retiree Activities Office has been closed for many months as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted various base agencies, but the RAO is pleased to open its doors once again in a new location.

The RAO serves the community in a variety of ways. It keeps the immediate retiree populace of approximately 2,000 Air Force local retirees and surviving spouses up-to-date on benefits, entitlements, and all issues affecting the well-being of the retirees and their spouses.

Leveraging its platform and connections, the RAO answers questions via phone and email in an effort to answer complaints and prevent misinformation from spreading.

The RAO takes all questions affecting members from the community, researches the subject, coordinates with any lead agency and provides responses.

United States Air Force retired senior master sergeant Mike Goff is the RAO’s newly appointed group leader.

Goff expressed his excitement over seeing the RAO begin serving the community again. 

“Before the pandemic hit, the RAO held various workshops and events for retirees, ensuring they and their spouses were well plugged into resources available in the Kaiserslautern Military Community,” Goff said.

One of those workshops was set up to provide the retiree, especially the spouse, with vital information on what documentation to have ready when the retiree passes. Goff is excited to reignite this briefing as soon as possible.

Additionally, the new Director is looking for more experienced volunteers to expand operating hours.

“This is one of my goals, and I will work hard to locate a few dedicated volunteers to make this happen,” Goff said. “Of the some 100 RAO’s around the world, we want to be the best”.

Approximately 56,000 Ameri-cans reside in the KMC. RAO leadership prides themselves on being ambassadors to the community and fostering strong ties between both Americans and Germans in the area.

USAF retired Chief master sergeant Jim Barrante, who has been with the RAO for 10 years, stresses that having a functioning RAO available to all retirees, spouses and surviving spouses is an absolute necessity for the retiree community. 

“Especially here and around the KMC in Germany retirees face a myriad of different rules and laws,” Barrante said.

The RAO provides answers on various topics including applying for Social Security, tips on how to ready yourself for German residency, complexities of doing estate planning, and preparation for that “final flight.”

“Based on many instances where we have helped people time after time, the RAO has been and will continue to be a ‘life saver’ for those that have been served here and for those that will follow us.”

Goff and Barrante are passionate about caring for military senior citizens and are committed to keeping the RAO up and running.

The dedicated volunteers of the RAO strive to be sincere American ambassadors to their German neighbors, and they are working to mirror a positive reflection of the retiree community they serve.

The RAO on Ramstein has opened its new doors in Building 2118, Room 138. The office is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. RAO leadership recommends scheduling an appointment either via email or telephone. To contact them, you can call at DSN 480-5486 or Comm 06371-47-5486. Personnel can also email their office at 86aw.rao@us.af.mil.

More information on RAOs throughout the Air Force can be found at https://www.retirees.af.mil/Library/RAOs/.