Letters to the Editor

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MILITARY: All retirees aren’t so well off

Letter by Norman J. Campbell, DuPont on Aug. 22, 2011 at 10:01 am with 6 Comments »
August 22, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: “Retirement benefits are quite generous” (letter, 8-21).

Apparently suffering from the “I’ve got mine” syndrome, the writer does unwarranted injustice to his elderly fellow retirees from World War II and Korea. He must remember the greatest swindle of all times perpetrated by the government: the promise of free health care for life as a form of earned delayed pay to compensate for subpar military salaries.

Nor is he old enough to have been kicked out of the military medical system in 1995 at age 65 and forced to fight Congress for six years to get the government to partially honor the promise that enticed career military to stay in the service while saving the government billions in training dollars.

Possibly he was blessed with cushy assignments while many of us spent far more than half our careers in combat zones and isolated assignments no other citizen would accept. He must be aware the “enormous” military pension for E-7s in 1964 after 22 years of service was $225.50 per month. (Yes COLAs have increased it, but those COLAs also increased Social Security and Civil Service pensions).

In the past – with substandard wages imposed upon military members and when pay day was once a month – commissaries with GI-issue canned goods and BXs were a godsend while trying to eke out a living for a family of five on $70 per week. Today, both can be beat by shopping sales in civilian stores. The writer should realize some military retirees are financially hurting.

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  1. SandHills says:

    Well said Mr. Campbell. If there is one bit of tweaking to the current retirement system it would be to make adjustments based upon actual combat, and even unaccompanied deployments to remote assignments, and those who “homesteaded”.
    But overall the statement “all gave some and some gave all” separates military service from all other careers – and promises made upon enlistment should be honored by a grateful nation for a lifetime of service.

    Today police, firemen, school teachers, and most government employees – through their respective unions – have demanded, received, and maintained a better retirement program than the military because they always have the threat of strikes.

    Besides, I’ve always been told that military retirement is not really a pension in the truest sense anyway, but rather “reduced pay for reduced service” since many remain subject to recall long after retirement.

  2. SandHills says:

    Well said Mr. Campbell. If there is one bit of tweaking to the current retirement system it would be to make adjustments based upon actual combat, and even unaccompanied deployments to remote assignments, and those who “homesteaded”.
    But overall the statement “all gave some and some gave all” separates military service from all other careers – and promises made upon enlistment should be honored by a grateful nation for a lifetime of service.

    Today police, firemen, school teachers, and most government employees – through their respective unions – have demanded, received, and maintained a
    better retirement program than the military because they always have the threat of strikes.

    Besides, I’ve always been told that military retirement is not really a pension in the truest sense anyway, but rather “reduced pay for reduced service” since many remain subject to recall long after retirement.

  3. Thanks, Norm. The usual flagwavers are suspiciously missing from this thread

  4. alindasue says:

    KARDNOS said, “Thanks, Norm. The usual flagwavers are suspiciously missing from this thread”

    It’s ironic that the “flagwavers” are often the ones who complain the most about how “much” military retirees receive…

  5. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Where is the partisan nature of this article? What are you clowns taking about?

  6. aislander says:

    Whoever wrote the headline should learn the difference between “all” and “not all…”

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