Do Not Mess with My Gunny’s Retirement Benefits

Social media gives us access to information that a decade ago we couldn’t have received; the personalization of the stories of sacrifice within the military community has really overwhelmed me. I have to tell you I feel inadequate, I feel like I need to be doing a better job of showing my gratitude for what our troops do. And then I realized the perfect way, those of us safe on American soil need to become the first line of defense for those men and women who should be concentrating on their mission rather than the political mess that is occurring.

Republicans and Democrats can’t agree, so what happens, the politicians continue to be paid and military pay is threatened twice over the last few months. Our economy is a mess, where should we cut spending- oh, but the National defense of course. Hmmm, do you think what happens back at ‘home’ could slightly be stressing out our forces? Should we ever put additional stress of the same people we ordered to combat zones? Not on my watch.

I want to share with you what is happening with military retirement, the proposed changes and the people who are responsible so that you can make an educated decision on if it is something you want to fight.  My husband has served proudly for the last 13 years with the belief in mind that he rated certain retirement benefits at the 20 year mark. Now, do not be mistaken, this man would wear that uniform for free, he would fly on that CH-53 E even if it means no pay, no benefits, nothing because being a United States Marine has so much value to him over and above monetary. But, we promise men and women like my husband certain ‘entitlements’ for doing over the course of twenty years what some will never see over a lifetime.

Today, three proposals exist that place military benefits on the chopping block, two more serious than the third. The proposals will be researched over the next 6-12 months and then legislation will be introduced. This is where we come in. I want us to all join forces, do our own research, and protect the benefits of our military heroes. Here is the preliminary information I have gathered:

1) Defense Business Board Task Force: Reports to DOD, http://dbb.defense.gov/reports_sec.shtml  

2) Deficit Commission appointed by President: http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/

3) Senator Tom Coburn from OK (R), has a proposed plan called Bring Back Black that wants to get rid of DOD schools & commissaries: http://coburn.senate.gov/public/?p=deficit-reduction

I would like to believe I am an open minded person; I do not identify with any one side rather I am just a proud American woman. However, in reviewing what these three entities are proposing, I absolutely 100% think our troops who are serving, whether it is year 1 or year 10 should be grandfathered into any changes that occur, if any changes have to occur. I do not believe the work of our troops is even slightly comparable to anything anyone in the civilian sector does.

So what can we do? Because the legislation hasn’t even been formed and introduced yet, I believe in being proactive rather than reactive. Our government has great transparency, you can find the phone number and email address to every Senator that serves your state, to include Senator Coburn who doesn’t believe we rate our commissaries. Don’t let others do the work for you, make the calls, pen the letters, request meetings. Stand up for our troops so they can do what they are called to do: focus on their mission and come home to their loved ones. Share your thoughts.

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