Tag Archives: Soldiers

Mullen Mulls Cuts for Military Pay

Times are hard out there for the military. They are engaged on multiple fronts, many times fighting an enemy that can’t be seen, can’t be predicted, can’t be detected, and possibly can’t even be defeated. And at the same time suffering from the same budget difficulties stifling our economy, with one glaring difference. Workers for GM, GE, or The Department of Transportation aren’t getting shot at or blown up when they go to work. Our troops on the ground are.

Last Thursday The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, stated that it is likely service members will see their pay and benefits cut as the Pentagon works to trim a half billion dollars off their budget across the next dozen years. He warned against cutting hardware and programs while maintaining the increasing costs of paying and providing ongoing health care to active duty troops and retirees.

“Two of the big places the money is, is in pay and benefits,” Mullen told defense reporters at a June 2 breakfast meeting in Washington. “And so when I say all things are on the table, all things are on the table.”

That’s an easy observation to make for an Admiral hauling in nearly $150,000 a year in pay. Things get a lot tighter on the purse-strings for front line recruits who make in the $360 a week range… before taxes.

Record deficits and out of control spending for unaffordable programs seem to be off the radar for those that can do anything about them. The military industrial complex is the tail that wags the dog to the tune of nearly $1.4 trillion a year (including interest on the National Debt).

I think it’s high time the power centers of DC get their head out of the sand, or where ever their head happens to be, and start making the tough decisions that can slow this spending juggernaut before it consumes the livelihood of our children and grandchildren. Taking food off solider’s children’s tables is not the place to do it.

Yes, we need a strong defense, but we need to temper that with intelligent management. I think it has to start with pulling back our commitments in theaters of wars with no end in sight.  That’s the intelligent part. Stop throwing money away on pipe dreams and ghosts.

Pie Chart by: http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

Merry Christmas to our Soldiers and Sailors

When I served in the army, the hardest time to be away from home was Christmas. Sure, it was fun to lay around the barracks, play cards with my fellow soldiers and drink the holiday away, but what I really wanted was to be home.

Our troops are spread thin these days.  They are fighting a cowardly enemy that wounds and kills our young men and women using horrific techniques.

But let us not forget those serving peacetime and support missions in places like, Latin America, Western Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. Sailors on Aircraft Carriers, Battlegroups, submarines, and other support ships are not only away from home, they are away from land. (Watch the series Documentary Carrier on Hulu if you want to truly understand what life on a Navy ship is about.)

So my blog today is to honor them and send my prayers and holiday wishes to our American heros and the families that love them. Be safe in your mission of freedom!

Rather than my normal quote, I offer this poem.

A Military Christmas Salute
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separate you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December.”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam”,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue…An American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fight,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

~ Author Unknown