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Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in review

Tomorrow is New Year's eve.  I remember a few New Year's parties deployed and in the states.  They were wild, drunken affairs that normally lead to throwing up followed by the dry heaves and massive head aches!   I have the same feelings about the year 2013 even though I don't drink anymore!  The year we are leaving behind will give us that sick feeling for the rest of our lives.

For instance, tomorrow, my wife and I are going to the Commissary.  It is time for our two week shopping trip.  We have down this for 41 years.  I love my Commissary.  It saves us money on our food budget.  We get to shop with other military members and families, and I often run into old friends and shipmates.  But, the person in the Oval Office wants to take that benefit away from us!  He says it costs too much money to operate.  The truth is, of the $1.6 billion appropriated to the world wide Commissary system for all services, overseas and stateside, $900 million was returned last year. The remainder was used at low population bases that do not have a population capable of supporting a store.  Most overseas!!

We were promised that the Commissaries would be there for us, and he wants to break that contractual promise.  What, you think this is not a contract issue?!  When you reenlisted, your contract said "Benefits of Rate"!  That means, COLA's, Commissary, Health Care, Exchanges, Clubs, Base Access,  family health care, Legal Support, flights on MAC flights, and Military Burial!  These are guaranteed to us by a legal contract.  We won once at the Supreme Court and that is why we have TriCare for Life!  I guess we will have to go back to the Court!

Another one of those "Benefits of Rate" is our COLA's for retired members.  You may not remember, but when I joined the Navy in 1969, retired members were getting two COLA's a year!  That was reduced to one a year in the late 1970's.  But, to protect the Military members able to retire during the "Two COLA's a Month" period but that stayed on Active Duty, Senator John Tower of Texas, a Reserve master Chief Boatswain's Mate, placed the Tower Amendment into a Defense Appropriations bill.  So, those who retired later, received the benefit of those double COLA's on their retirement check.  Now, we will have to fight to reinstate our "Contractual Right" of our COLS without a friend in Congress.

Our Active Duty members went without a pay raise for three years!  That is money they will never recoup!   If the retired COLA reduction is permitted to stand, we will all be robbed for life.

There ave been other losses for those of us who serve.  For instance, the Marine Corp delayed making their female members meet the same physical standards as their male counterparts.  If you are going to be full up, combat member of the military, you must meet the same standards as the others.  Man, woman, gay, straight, regardless of race.  When the females were in the rear with the beer and the gear, they could meet lower physical standards.  Now that females are on the front lines, they must be required to meet the same physical and professional standards that men meet.  No waivers!

One more point.  If a male military member is over weight, can't pass PRT, or has any other issue, he is gone!  Regardless of time in service!!  Why, he can't hack it!  But a female get waivers?!  Bullshit!

I am getting that" I'm going to puke" feeling again!  Maybe I need to start drinking again!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Active duty, Retired, and Disabled Military Personnel on Food Stamps!

I have written about this before.  Back in the Carter years, even married, Active Duty E-7's qualified for Food Stamps.  I just watched a report on Fox Mews stating what I already knew.  We are back in sad shape again.  The recent reduction of 1% of the COLA on retired pay will further exacerbate this problem.  The "No Active Duty Pay Raise" for Military and Civil Service personnel has already had a terrible effect on our Military/Civilian team.  It is sad.

There are a number of volunteer charities like "Truckin for Troups" and Church Food Banks that are trying to fill in the gap.  But that is too little too late.  Just the same, as long as the Progressives have control of our government, there is little hope for any change.  The Progressives see those of us who served as their enemy.  Since we believe in and support the Constitution of the United States, we are "Bad" people and we should be controlled or irradiated.

Don't agree?   Then why does the VA send Federal Marshall's to confiscate the guns of any Vet diagnosed with PTSD?  Depression?  The reason is to marginalize us.  And they are succeeding!  That's why our disabled Vets are in the financial and physical shape they are in.  I see homeless Vets under bridges and on street corners all over Pensacola.  There is a large mission in Pensacola called "Loaves and Fishes" that reach the homeless of our area and they serve a large Veteran community.

What can we do?  Give to one of these charities that serve, DIRECTLY, the Homeless.  I recommend Church ran Charities because they do not have the overhead that other's have.  For instance, I know Loaves and Fishes have many Churches bringing in meals, at NO COST, and serving them.  Donating food to Church Food Banks is another good way to help.  If you have a friend or relative that is a Disabled Vet or a retired Military member.  Don't ask if they need help, you already know if they do or not.  If you think they do, help.  How, Buy their Christmas Turkey and all the fixings!  Give them a gift card to Walmart.  Find something they cannot afford to do but drastically need, like car repair, home repair, medical bill, food, and pay for it or some of it.  They are too proud to ask.  It will embarrass them to take the help, so you must insist!!

Being unable to provide for your family is one of the primary causes of suicide!  Their thought is;  "I am broken, I am a failure, I am worthless, my family would be better if I was dead!  See the pattern here?  Your act of love and charity may save a family and a life!

I can't change the direction of our Nation.  I can change the direction of one person's life, and that is what I am going to do.  I hope you join me.  In my Navy, shipmates help Shipmates!  When GMG 1 Red Mills was killed on the USS Benjamin Stoddard, off the coast of Vietnam, the students at Gun School at Great Lakes, gave $5000 dollars to his wife!  That was in 1972 when the Military, especially the junior Enlisted Personnel, did not make much.  We can do better than that.

So, in the spirit of giving and the tradition of being a true Shipmate, find a Vet in need and help.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

100,000 Thanks!

I started writing this blog to save my memories.  It has become much more than that for me.  You that read and reply to my wandering writing have become family to me.  I cherish you replies, whether you are agreeing or chastising me for being wrong or worse.  I have written about my career in the Navy, politics, and family.

I enjoy writing these recollections and thoughts.  It is my hope that what I write may be of use to you.  Either as a learning event, something to laugh at, or something that is thought provoking.  As the family of "Navy" folks, we have seen and done a lot!  And those stories should live on after I pass away.

So, I will continue to write, even though my memories are beginning to fade.  Still, I come up with stories from long ago, that are worth writing.

Thank you for being there for me.  I never thought this blog would ever reach over 100,00 views.  Truthfully, I never though I wrote or knew anything that 100,000 readers would find interesting!  Turns out, I was wrong.

Merry Christmas to each of you!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

51 Sailors stationed on the USS Ronald Reagan have cancer from the Fukishima Reactor

There are numerous news reports out that state that 51 Sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan that were involved with the aid to Japan's Fukishama nuclear reactor have already contracted cancers including brain cancer and leukemia.

First, this goes a long way to make the statement that the American Bluejacket is a hero.  In war, in peace, the American Bluejacket will risk their lives to aid their fellow man!  It is tragic that these personnel will most likely die from this cancer.  I hope the Navy, the U.S. Government, the government of Japan, and the Veteran's Administration, will offer aid to these victims of this tragedy and their surviving families!!

I would be willing to bet that most, if not all, of the men and women that went ashore to help the people of Japan, in their hour of need, were volunteers!!  In my experience, the more hard case sailor would still volunteer to help someone!

I ask you to part for these Sailors and their families.  I also ask you to contact your Congressman and ask him or her what they plan to do for these families!!  Nothing, is not an acceptable answer!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bore Clear!!

As a "Guns" type Gunner's Mate, that phrase is music to our ears.  "Bore Clear" means there is no round in the chamber of the gun.  It is always given after a "Cease Fire" order.  As the Mount Captain, it is your responsibility to pass this report to whoever is controlling the Gun.  In the old days it was "Plot".  Then the Gun Control Console Operator in CIC.  Now, I have no idea who the Mount Captain reports too!  Probably someone in Facebook.

Of course, "Foul Bore" means there IS a round left unfired in the Gun Bore.  Nit a good thing, especially if the Gun Barrel is HOT!  Then you have a "Hot Gun Issue"!  Trust me, "Hot Guns" DO cause explosions.  That is what killed GMG1 Red Mills on an Adams Class DDG off the coast of Vietnam.  I have written about that one before.

You cannot pull into port with a loaded gun barrel!  You must clear the bore before doing anything!  How?  By firing the projectile out of the barrel.  We first try retiring the powder charge that is in the gun.  We use alternate firing circuits.  In the old days, we used a "Stinger" which was a Ten Cap Blasting Machine with a rigid wire lead to place on the firing lead on the back of the breach block.  Way back, the 5"/38 and 3"/50 gun mounts had a manual firing treadle that actually let the percussion portion of the Case Combination Primer function instead of electric firing.  Now, there are no Case Combination Primers.  They did have a safety issue.  Of course, the 20MM and 40 MM guns were percussion fired in the old days.

A few years ago, I had a colonoscpy and when a friend of mine asked me how it went, I emailed him this report' "Bore Clear, no apparent casualties".  Once a Gunner's Mate, always a Gunner's Mate!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Don't piss down my neck and tell me it's raining!

The so called Bi-partisan budget deal the the House passed and the Senate will pass reduces the COLA of every military member that retires by 1% until they turn 62.  No catch up!  That is bad enough, but now I find out that ir also reduces the checks of those who are medically retired because of combat injury and also VA pensions for disabled veterans!

Congressmen and Senators get their entire salary as a pension with just one tour in office!  That is two years for a Congressman and 6 years for a Senator.  Even if they serve ONE day and quit!  They get COLA's, full medical for them and their family, and other perks!  I would think it would be better to cut their benefits instead of those of us who have served in combat.

Senator Joe Manchen of West Virginia was on Fox News today and sounded like the Progressive he is.  He said everyone needed to sacrifice to fix the budget problems.  What about Congress Joe!  And what IS sacrifice?  A lost leg, PTSD, paralyzed from the neck down?  Go to Hell Joe Manchen, you Commie bastard!!  You never served in uniform, so you don't count.  You hicks in West Virginia need to stop screwing your cousins and start electing reputable men, unlike your KKK Senator and Joe Manchen!

I have had my fill of the Progressives and their BS of "Everyone must Sacrifice".   They mean, "Everyone but them".  It is time that we stand up!!  If you did not call your Representative or Senator, you are part of the problem!  If you voted for one of these Progressives or RINO's, you should be shot!  Damn it, the bad guys are winning and we have but a scant chance of turning the tide!!  And if we don't get busy, that chance will evaporate.

Look, the Master Chief in me is screaming at the disrespect being rained down on my Brothers in Arms.  The Progressives have brought the entire budget issue on the back of the Military, active and retired.  We, in their estimation, are their enemy because we are loyal to the Constitution of the United States of America.  The Progressives and RINO's are NOT!!   I do not know how much more clear I can make this!   We are being treated as the enemy of the state.  This is only the beginning, this I know for sure!

So, it is your choice. Stand up and fight or lay down and be trampled like an old dog.  I for one, want to go out shooting.  At least I can take a few of the bastards with me.


Monday, December 16, 2013

You are relieved for cause!

All too often, we see the articles about a Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, or Command Master Chief being relieved for cause.   We read about the reasons leading to the decision to relieve the person but seldom do we see the outcome of the investigation.  There was the story about the  Captain of the Aircraft Carrier that was relieved because a training he did on Site TV offended some one.  That made big news.  But for the first time, an article in the Virginia Pilot tells; "The Rest of the Story" about a Commanding Officer accused wrongly of misconduct.

You need to read the article to get all the details, but the thumbnail sketch of the miscarriage of justice is that he was accused of dastardly deeds and an Admiral relieved him because he had lost "confidence" in his ability to lead.  A common reason to relieve a Commanding Officer.  Nit to mention that this Commanding Officer had 28 years of spotless service and was in his third Command position!

I do not know who or how the complaint came in, but the results of the investigation proved that the charges were unsupported!  The Admirals Board of Inquiry found no reason to relieve the Captain and recommended that he be permitted to continue his career.  Great, so let's put him back to complete his Command tour!  NO!  He gets sent to the Pentagon to ride a dusty desk in a inner ring office without windows, a telephone, or a computer!  He is still being punished.

And what about the person or persons that submitted the unsupported charges.  I guess they just go about their merry way!  No consequences for their false charges.  And what about the climate at that command?  Have we now set up an environment where, if you thing the Captain is too strict, we can get him fired by just making an anonymous call to the hot line?

I belies this Captain has been egregiously wronged!  I believe the Command he was Commanding Officer of owes him an apology and so does the Admiral that jumped the gun and fired him without justification.  Don't get me wrong, most of the "Relieved for Cause" cases are warranted.  But the Navy Leadership needs to make sure the reasons are sound before ruining a good Officer's or Master Chief's career,  This time, the Navy screwed up!

Friday, December 13, 2013

"Gold Rush"

I watch the television show "Gold Rush" and marvel at the way the show portrays the danger and technical difficulties of digging gold out of the ground.  Don't get me wrong, what they do is hard work, long hours, in a cold, unforgiving climate.  Except Todd who went to South America to waste money!   AS I watch this show, my mind goes back to what I did in the Navy.

I was a Gunner's Mate as you may know.  We maintained and operated the weapons systems on the ship.  I tell folks I worked on everything from .22 cal pistols to Nuclear Weapons!   That statement is mostly correct since I actually worked on an ASROC launcher on two ships.   But there was much more to the Gunner's Mate's responsibilities.   For instance, the stowage of all the ammunition on the ship was our responsibility.  That included the fire suppression system for the Magazines called "The Magazine Sprinkler System".   These systems were designed to flood the magazine they serviced from the deck to the overhead in one hour!  Believe me, that is a vast volume of water spraying from sprinkler heads in the overhead.  These systems had to be tested monthly and flushed quarterly.  Many Gunner's Mates made mistakes and had sprinkler systems sprinkle magazines!   The automated system to set off the sprinklers in the magazine used devices that could react to a slow rise in temperature or a rapid rise.  The Pneumatically Released Pilot Valve (PRP) was cantankerous at best!

I remember doing "Crash Backs" on the USS Leftwich.  This engineering evolution required the ship to go from full ahead to full reverse, all at once.  A DD 963 class ship, doing 32 knots ahead, could stop dead in the water in the length of the ship!  That was 563 feet!!   But that "Crash Back" caused the ship to vibrate violently and sea water would actually wash over the fantail and Missile Deck!!  Of course, I owned a few magazines in the aft portion of the ship.  Mount 52's Projectile Mag, Powder Mag, Staging Area, and the Loader Room all had automatic sprinkler systems.   I would always run back to those spaces to make sure nothing went wrong.

But the point of this post is to relay to you the stress of being the Leading Gunner's Mate.  There were tons of high explosive 5 inch projectiles and propelling charges.  Not to mention, ASROC missiles, NATO Sea Sparrow Missiles, Torpedoes, Small Arms Ammunition, CIWS Ammo, and Pyrotechnics and demolition charges.  I worried about the safety of the ammunition from the time it came aboard until we offloaded it.  The handling, stowage, and use, of the ammo was my responsibility.  Anything that happened related to the ammo, small arms, Gun Systems, was my responsibility and probably, in some manner, my fault.  Don't believe me?   If a ship runs aground, when the Commanding Officer is asleep, he is at fault!  He gets fired.  And his career is over.  Same for the Senior Gunner's Mate.  

Then there was the Gun Mounts that handled 5 inch ammunition at a rate to sustain a very rapid rate of fire.  For instance, I began my career on the MK 42 5 inch gun mounts.  They were originally designed to fire 40 rounds a minute!   The projectile weighed 75 pounds and the powder charge to propel the projectile weighed 44 pounds.  So a electronically controlled, hydraulically operated gun loading system was pretty rough on the ammo.  I saw nose fuzes ripped off projectiles, projectiles cracked open and the explosive charge exposed, powder cases ripped open and gun powder spread all over the gun loading system and gun pocket.  I also saw M2 Browning .50 cal mating guns blow th top cover off!  Being a Gunner's Mate was a dangerous, stressful, job!  And the stress was 24/7/365 for the entire time you were stationed on that ship.

Of course, then there was the issue of keeping track of all that ammo!  Much of it highly pilfer able!  And ammo and small arms were stolen from Navy ships.  In San Diego, in the late 1970's, three sailors, one of them a Gunner's Mate, stole a number of small arms off the Adams Class DDG they were on.   The took an M60 Machine Gun, a couple of M14's, pistols, ammo for the guns, and concussion grenades!  They took the weapons went to a Marina near LaJolla, and stole a sail boat.  The one problem with their plan was, they did not know how to sail.  They casted off and drifted in the harbor.  A Coast Guard boat came to their supposed rescue.  Imagine the surprise of the Coast Guard crew when the came to the rescue and found all those weapons!  Now imagine the Board of Inquiry that fried the Chief Gunner's Mate over his lax security of weapons and ammo!!

My point is, what civilians think is dangerous and stressful and what I experienced is miles apart.  A Trammel breaking down does not even approach the danger and stress of a Gun Mount blowing up!  But, I loved being a Gunner's Mate and I loved my career.  I miss both and dwell on the past all the time.  Hopefully, I will remember more stories.  

The "Budget Deal" is NO great deal for retired military!

Just like the Affordable Care Act, the recent Bi-partisan Budget Deal is turning out to be anything but good.   One of the ways Congress intends to reduce the budget deficit is to reduce the COLA for retired military members by 1% each year until the retiree turns 62!!  Naturally, the more your retirement check is, the more you loose.  But it is the Enlisted Military members that will be hurt the most!!

This is an insidious punishment!  Each year, the COLA would be reduced by 1%.  So the effects of the reduction are compounded each year!   It is the reverse of compound interest!!  The retired First Class will loose less that a retired Commander, but the First Class will be impacted even more because of the lower retirement check.

COLAs are already reduced.  How?  Gasoline, food, heating oil, and health care are already excluded from the COLA computation.  How can that be?  These are the real drivers of inflation.  These are the items that make up the majority of our monthly budget.  Yet, the "Suits" in Washington decided to exclude them from the computation of the Cost of Living adjustments.  So, the annual COLA does not even reflect the actual rise in the cost of living.  Then, the "Suits" want to lower that fantasy COLA by another 1% for retired military members under 62?!

Again, I ask, where is the righteous indignation from the Flag Officers, the Senior Enlisted Leaders, or even a service secretary?  Now the military service organizations will protest, but that is like a union protesting.  It is expected.

It is time that he senior leadership of our military, enlisted and officer, stop trying to get advanced and stop trying to be friends with the "Suits" and open their collective mouths to support the active and retired members of the military.

A long time ago, the "Suits" floated a retirement plan that withheld our retirement check until we turned 62!  Then, it was reduced the amount of our Social Security.  That did not go very far back in the early 1970's.  If this COLA reduction is signed into law, the "Suits" will dust off that old proposal and run it up the flag pole again!  Mark my words!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Reduce Military pensions to reduce the budget deficit?

I just read an article that states that our wonderful representatives in Congress are working on reducing the retirement pay of Military personnel and Civil Servants.  No where in that article was there even a thought of reducing the extravagant pensions of Senators and Congressmen!  That evidently is not a good idea in their estimation.

When retention is good, the Military always trims incentives to reenlist.  Reenlistment bonuses, special sea shore rotation deals, schools, and duty assignments have always been used to sweeten the pot for reenlistments.  When the ranks are healthy, these incentives are reduced or done away with completely.  But from what I read, some of the retention figures are not good.  For instance, Military pilots are at a premium!  Now think about it, if we loose a F/A 18 pilot after 6 years of service, we have to train a new "Nugget" to replace that pilot, and in six years, he or she may be able to be the replacement.  The bottom line is, we can never replace the experience of the vetted individual.  Another issue is, most of the men and women in the Military have combat experience.  That experience is impossible to replace.  I was the Command Master Chief of VA 55, an A-6 squadron for a brief period of time.   When they bombed Benghazi on the orders of President Reagan, to silence Khadafi, the Executive Officer was the ONLY Aviator that had combat experience!  Trust me, going into combat with all green personnel is like running into t cave in the dark!

Another issue is implied contracts.  When we join the Military, certain "Promises" are made to us by the Recruiter and in "Boot Camp" through training and publications.  One of these promises is our retirement program and the condition of retirement.  How that retirement compensation is computed, when the checks start, and how the COLA is computed.  Along with that promise was life time health care for the military member and their family!  Then there is the promise of Commissary and Exchange rights.  Of course, I have already informed you that the Administration is seriously contemplating closing all the stateside Commissaries!!

All in all, the prospect for the benefits of Military men and women is bleak!!  I encourage you to write, email, and call your Representatives and Senators and let them know your opinion of their disrespect for the contract they have with us!  Then, if they blow you off, vote against them in November 2014!  That is truly all the ammo we have!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Maybe what I believed in does not matter anymore!

I spend a lot of time thinking about the past.  I dream about the past, and talk about it most of the time.  I sometime aggravate my wife when I talk constantly about the Navy and my experiences.  I get frustrated when I look at the condition of the Navy, the small number of ships, the closing of the Commissaries, the threatened reduction of pay and benefits, and the resulting loss of skilled personnel.  All of these issues strike fear in my heart and serve to depress me.

But, what if I am the only one effected by these issues?  What if Commissaries, pay, ship numbers, combat capabilities, and retention, don't mean anything to today's Navy personnel?   While that possibility really scares me, it may be the truth.

I do not see or hear anyone complaining!  Not the CNO, or a Fleet Commander, or the MCPON, or any of eh Master Chiefs on the CNO's Advisory Committee.  No one!  So, maybe everything is OK with low pay, unisex uniforms, and long deployments on broken ships.

When I was the Force Master Chief of SURFLANT, I screamed loud and long when I thought the men and women I represented were being treated badly.  Every six months, the Navy Surgeon General, Admiral Lestage and I had a heated argument over PRT differences between 18 year old females and 36 year old males.  I also argued with the CNO himself over moving Sailors to Naval Station New York.  I was concerned about placing young Sailors in the middle of New York, drug salesmen all around, in a mid-rise apartment with our play grounds or secure parking.  The CNO told me it was above my pay grade and his!  But I still argued.

But now, there are no dissenting voices.  Only silence!  And silence can be deadly.  But, it appears, no one cares.

When shoring is a waste of time!

When I was the Command Master Chief of Attack Squadron 55 (VA 55) we were deployed to the Med.  We flew off of the USS Coral Sea.  Every so often, ship's company would go to General Quarters and drill on damage control.   Being a Destroyer sailor, damage control is near and dear to my heart.  Small ships can absorb amazing damage and still float, IF the crew can perform basic damage control principles.  Shoring a bulkhead to stop flooding, mitigate damage, can stop the conflagration of flooding.  I actually had to shore a bulkhead that had been stoves in, and two of the ship's ribs were cracked, by a rogue wave!  But on an aircraft carrier, there are spaces that stopping flooding is probably a waste of time.

During these General Quarters drills, the air wing has little to do.  I would go to the Ready Room and do nothing.   But once time, I wandered out into the passageway next to our Ready Room.  Now our Ready Room was in the small Island of the ship.  many decks above the waterline.  As I watched the Damage Control Team, I realized they were shoring a bulkhead!  In addition, they were using various D methods to slow leaks in the bulkhead.  Since this DC team was always located in the Island of the ship, it struck me as curious that they would be working on controlling flooding!  Why?  because if the water is up to the Island, you have already sunk!

And as the title states, shoring is a waste of time at that point.  Then I thought about the condition of our Navy.  We have a very small Navy.  Smaller that before World War I.  But our operational commitments are high.  Deployments are now 7-8 months on schedule and even longer if the world situation changes.  The administration wants to reduce pay and benefits, close stateside Commissaries, and limit advancement.  Ship building is not sufficient to keep up with decommissioning.  I can easily call the situation that our Navy is is, Conflagration.  In other words, the damage is spreading so quickly that we cannot get ahead of it!  We are sinking.  Yet, I see some of the leadership of the Navy, shoring a bulkhead on the 09 Deck!   Instead of taking on these life or death issues, they are worried about "Unisex" uniforms!

With just over 84 surface combatant ships in the U.S. Navy, we have reached the point where shoring is a waste of time.  It is clearly time to abandon the present direction of our Navy and retrench.   But someone has to take the lead and stand up for our Navy and our people.  I just don't see that happening.


Monday, December 2, 2013

More on benefit cuts!

Again, I was in the check out line at the Commissary and I read the headlines on the cover of Navy Time;  "Pay and benefit cuts!!  and Stateside Commissaries in the cross hairs"!   My question is, Why is this administration going after the men and women in the Uniform of our Country?  We have a fully voluntary military.  No conscription, no mandatory National service.  Every one in uniform since after the Vietnam war has been a volunteer!  Why would anyone want to reduce the pay and benefits of the less than 1% of Americans who volunteer to serve in the defense of our Nation?!?

Why don't we reduce the pay of those in Congress?  Why not reduce the number of staff members in Congress and the White House?   Why not do away with departments that do nothing?  Like the Department of Education?  But to zero in on those who voluntarily place their lives on the line for the defense of our Nation is ill-advised at best and treasonous at the worst!  

What impact will these cuts in pay and benefits have on retention and recruiting?  Every trained, experienced, person in uniform who get out at the end of his or her enlistment takes their training and experience with them.  The result is increased training costs!  The loss of mid-grade Officers in a problem now.  What will reductions in pay and benefits be?  And finally, where are the Flag Officers on this?  I have not heard ONE Flag Officer say anything for or against this policy!!  Sad!

All the technology in the world will not defend our Nation or win a war.  It takes men and women, in Uniform, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, to defend America.  They deserve respect, adequate pay, and secure benefits.  What we promise them in the recruiter's office should be honored throughout their career!  To do less is a breach of promise!

So, what do we do?  Two things;  First:  Join the Fleet Reserve Association or another service related organization that lobbies for your rights!   Second; Call your Congressman and Senators and let them know that you strongly disagree with this blatant attack on our pay and benefits!!

Last thing, today at the check out line, the clerk "Scanned" my wife's ID card!!  That has never happened before.  Yes, they look at it to make sure we are authorized patrons.  But scanning takes you name and SSN!  I believe the administration is keeping track of who is using the Commissary.  Why, I can only guess.  But that guess is pretty sinister!  There is evil afoot!!