Las Vegas Sun

December 22, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Honor our soldiers with better pay

I write this on the Fourth of July and I am so grateful to all our military for the sacrifices they have made to make our country what it is today.

I think our military should have better pay and benefits for all they do for us. Our government is having a problem balancing the budget, and yet it decides to provide $1.3 billion in aid for Turkey now?

The part we play in world affairs should depend on what we do for our own people first. We have too many lost jobs and lost homes. Too many homeless. Too many worries about Social Security. And certainly too many soldiers returning home to no jobs or to inadequate medical care. How did we let this happen? I am proud to be an American but have a heavy heart for all our own oppressed.

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  1. I second Future's motion. We need to reform the Veterans Department and make it and their employees more responsive and sensitive to those who fought and served America. It's reprehensible that veterans must fill out hundreds of forms for dozens of agencies to complete the bureaucratic process for starting life over as a civilian after military service. And then wait years for the process to begin. I support and vote for any candidate, any party, any person who makes this goal [reforming the VA] a major tenet of his/her election campaign.

    Carmine D

  2. TrueAmericanPatriot is correct, unlike Future whining about the VA being understaffed. You can't cut programs and lay off government workers without it having an affect on our returning troops who are in need of help.

  3. There was a world prior to the sequester, and prior to the sequester the Republican House of Representatives cut $11 billion from veteran's spending via Paul Ryan's budget. They also cut defense spending for our embassies and consulates. That's the way they operate, cut programs and then say it wasn't their fault and try to dump it on the Dems.

  4. Future (8:18 a.m.) is wrong yet again in saying: "The sequester exempted the VA."

    The sequester exempted "All programs administered by the VA, and special benefits for certain World War II veterans." That excludes quite a bit. For just one example, VA could really use a program to enable it to import all medical records from the DoD for all applicants. This ability could significantly cut the time necessary to determine VA eligibility, and would tell VA what has already been done to assist a specific individual, as well as what was tried and FAILED!. Such a program would mean spending money for updates to computer systems at both VA AND DoD. Those won't happen under the sequester. Worse, since this ability has already been delayed for so long that unconscionable major back-logs have developed, the funding would be not for an orderly programming change over time, but for an emergency project to be completed as soon as possible - tomorrow would be ideal. Why doesn't the VA already HAVE the ability to download DoD records? Because it would have taken money and some elements of the government are opposed to spending money for ANYTHING government-related. Besides, both the DoD and the VA programs have always been adequate in the past.

  5. It is critical that Congress identify the funding sources for ALL new wars, military or police actions (i.e. like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan) before deploying any troops.

    Tell the country where the money will come from and if there is no source, there is no deployment. When the money ends, the war ends - same day. Those Congressmen who disagree will loose their seat in Congress and report to the front lines for further orders.

    It must be made illegal to begin any military action that increases the National Deficit because this turns into an opportunity empty the treasury into paying the domestic war machine that is never satisfied.

    Social Security, Medicare and/or education should never be expected to foot the bill for the next bang bang boondoggle that makes thousands of new Generals with lifetime pensions living in big houses by sunbelt golf courses along with 100,000 graves for the soldiers that went to war. Enough of throwing money away on no bid contracts and lies for profit.

  6. It already costs us a $million per for EACH soldier and contractor anywhere near a war zone. Wonder why the U.S. has economic problems. What soldiers NEED is some stability--so many are unable to re-up when one skirmish cools--so they rather suddenly are unemployed. And, it takes sooo long for the many, many with disabilities and medical issues to receive notification of status. Other posters are into it--suggesting SS coverage INSTEAD of military benefit system--would address continuity towards a retirement AND insist on administrative processing of disability. Again, let's reconsider that many high school drop outs and/or juvenile delinquents enlist as the single option available for employment. We/the military pays to teach them the abc's and how to show up for work on time. Many "soldiers" need total remedial education and training to become functional as pencil pushers, supply runners, gas station attendants....and for this you want to pay them mega bucks?

  7. In the 1970's my father-in-law, now buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, retired from the Army with 33 years of service. I attended his hearing before a VA Board in Washington DC on his disability rating.

    Background: He was 17 when he joined the Army after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was rejected by several military services before the Army accepted him. He was diagnosed with a medical condition: An aneurism on his heart, a genetic disease common for the men in his family. Upon retirement, the VA assessed him with a 30 percent disability. He deserved and was requesting a higher percentage after his service in 3 wars--WW2, Korean, and a half dozen combat tours in Southeast Asia--Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. He was shot and bayonetted in Korea, caught malaria in Southeast Asia, and suffered further heart deterioration probably as a result of his war service. The latter was documented in his military medical files which I read. During his military career, he was awarded the Soldier's Medal, The Bronze Star with several Oak Leave Clusters for Valor, and several Purple Hearts, just to mention a few.

    At the end of the day, the VA Board ruled that the 30 percent was correct. Several years later, he suffered a massive heart attack at my house on a Thanksgiving Day weekend. I rushed him to DeWitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir, VA about 7 miles away from my home. The doctors and nurses there were outstanding and their actions saved his life for another 5 years. He died after another heart attack at the age of 58. He had been retired for less than 10 years.

    The VA was dead wrong. He deserved a 100 percent disability for serving as a Command Sargent Major for 33 years in the Army with a documented, well-known, heart aneurism as part of his permanent medical records.

    Carmine D

  8. If it's true? If it's true? Ironic coming from a poster with "True" in his nom de plume. My father-in-law loved the Army. He never appealed the ruling which I advised he should have done. Probably the only thing in life he loved more was his wife, a German national still living, who he married after the war in Germany. Not only the U. S. Government frowned on this, but he was disowned by his entire family for doing so.

    You can't make this stuff up. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    Carmine D