An Active Duty soldier concerned with the rumors flying round about the proposed budgets cuts to the military retirement system from its current 50% pay after 20 years of service to something more like a 401K retirement system a civilian might get, writes his senator to voice his concerns.
US Senator xxx-
As the debate continues on budget reform, I ask that you support the hundreds of thousands that do not represent a significant portion of the population, however, have sacrificed greater than the majority of Americans. I am referring to the hundreds of thousands that have committed themselves towards national defense during one of the most challenging decades of service of our country’s history, our military forces.
I am quite displeased with our Congress and President’s investigation into cutting military retirement benefits. Twelve years ago I contracted with the government for military service; during that time I made a careful and cautious decision to give my country my youth in exchange for a promise of financial independence in my ‘golden years’ During my twenties I gave over three years away from my family to support the government’s decisions across the globe. As I move into my thirties I stare down another decade of sacrifices; time away from my children, my wife; deployments to locations I won’t ever consider vacationing; subjecting my myself to the horrors of witnessing combat and death; years of rehabilitation while learning to process what I have lived through; and yet another decade of losing my friends and Soldiers over temporarily holding terrain in the not so desirable locations like Afghanistan. After all of that, our congress, with a majority that have never witness any of these things first hand, wants to take away their promises and verbal contract with those that serve.
I am ever more curious how claims can be made to reduce deployments and international commitment of our forces when no such action has been taken. Troop deployments have not decreased; they have merely been reallocated to other locations. Promises to end wars and bring Soldiers home seem to be used more as a political ploy for control of elections than actually reducing the burden on our armed forces. Presidential guidance to our military conflicts with political statements, our military is significantly over stressed, and our government (congress included) is only asking for more. What is most confusing to me is that our armed forces are asked for more, all while being under minded by those that are requesting. Military benefits are being scrutinized across the board; cuts are being applied without consideration to consequences on our fighting force (medical benefits, pay, incentives, programs and weaponry, and most importantly retirement and the commitment of our government to support our armed forces through the long haul).
Actually, after careful consideration this solution makes perfect sense You have a small percentage of the population that has supported your every request, no matter how absurd. When you asked our Soldiers to hold terrain in the Korngal for 6 years, despite heavy causalities we did; when you asked us to leave that same valley without completing our cause despite the purposeless loss of our friends, we complied. When you were struggling with budget you told the military we would work without compensation (April 2011), we complied and continued to fight when a political debate was more concerned of popular election than Soldier protection.
So, this solution makes perfect sense because it is easy. Those that serve have already proven the ability to sacrifice; we have demonstrated time and again that we will comply with your request and continue to support you, despite your lack of support and reneged contract to us. You know I will continue to sacrifice my youth and my family for service even when you take away the promises you made for my future. The financial burden of our country should be absorbed by our armed forces because we are willing to take it. Tell the American people to rest easy at night; our armed forces not only fight and win our wars; we give our livelihoods and retirements; our children’s college and our savings to fix the countries credit problem.
A Concerned Active Duty Service Member