Letters to the Editor

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JBLM: Article paints a false picture

Letter by Mark San Souci, Lakewood on Dec. 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm with 6 Comments »
December 27, 2010 1:29 pm

Re: “Managing Army’s growing pains” (TNT, 12-24).

I was pretty dismayed by the front-page story. Although an otherwise pertinent and informative article, was it necessary to make an editorial decision to include two photos relating to Army-connected people at a local food bank?

First, military families have access to two commissaries on Joint Base Lewis-McChord where prices are up to 30 percent less than supermarkets outside the gate. Civilians would covet such a benefit.

Second, military personnel make a very livable wage, including annual cost-of-living adjustments. I would suggest that after regular salary, non-taxable allowances, (including one specifically for housing), hazardous duty pay, re-enlistment bonuses, etc., there must be other, exceptional reasons why a military family needs to frequent a food bank.

Why perpetuate a false picture and stereotype? Further, what does a retired military person, who has accepted 23 years of COLAs in his retired pay since 1987, have to do with anything relating to future growth of the military installation in our area?

I am not a disgruntled civilian, but a retired military person. I believe The News Tribune could have found a better way to illustrate this particular story.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. I have to agree and disagree with Mark San Souci. I too read the article and found it somewhat puzzling. Until very recently our family had two active duty service members, army and air force, serving. Each have families. Each received housing allowances, free medical care and more than adequate pay. I wish the staff writer had provide backup for her statements concerning why 16,000 airmen and soldiers have to rely on food assistance. Active duty military personnel are not poorly paid.

    As to the retired service member. Yes, COLA’s are granted under federal law. However the COLA’s are nothing more than inflation fighters. After 23 years the retiree is suppose to be no better or worse off than when he retired. San Souci does not know this retirees circumstances. San Sauci does not know at what rank he retired, which is the starting point for the retired pay.

    But, why somebody on active duty needs a food bank? That’s interesting and needed to be explored rather than make it sound like the military is underpaid. This is a comment from a guy who made all of $234 per month during the Viet Nam era, that $8.00 per day.

  2. surething says:

    I used to be a case manager at a facility that had a food bank. There were plenty of military families coming in for all sorts of assistance.

    I was a military wife years ago, and we lived comfortable. we also didn’t waste money.

  3. TSkidmore says:

    $95 a month was my pay and my wife got $95 allotment. I know it ain’t the same world but I guess when they destroy the citizen army of a democracy you have to pay for the mercenaries you replace it with.

    This kind of pay – and even more pay for the “contractors” with 700 bases all over the world – two meaningless wars we will never “win” and every institution in our country falling apart.

    Insanity – total and complete mass insanity!

  4. BlaineCGarver says:

    I don’t find it surprising that TNT took a back handed swipe at soldiers….again. Young soldiers are just like any other young kids….If they over extend themselves, they might need a little help once in awhile. They deserve it more than some porch-sitting crack sponge.

  5. Uscha says,
    I wil not bore anyone with financial statistics, so I’ll cut to the chase. Like many
    other retired military, I remember the $72 per month pay checks. So to all you
    individuals who think soldiers are mercernaries, and their resources are out of
    line, I suggest to you, think of the number of work hours in a day. In 28 years of military service, I never knew what an 8-hour work day was. If I had received
    overtime for all hours over 8, I would have retired a milionaire. PERIOD

  6. freakwater says:

    The military is Socialism in the purest form. Our food and shopping is government-subsidized just like in the old Soviet Union; the U.S. tax payer is billed (bilked?) for our government medical care; our paychecks come from the tax dollars of citizens who work at real jobs in the private sector and industry; we receive guaranteed annual pay raises; and it’s nigh impossible to get fired from our jobs. Good enough for government work!

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