The other day, I read an interesting article of fiction. I’m almost positive that in the eyes of the author, David Wood, who writes for the Huffington Post, that it was factual, but in all honesty, he couldn’t have been further from the truth he was trying to convey to the masses.
The article, which you can view here, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/defense-budget-cuts_n_2584099.html states that, in a nutshell, that service members in the US military, and their families, are living a lavish lifestyle, and that there are many services and upgrades that are unnecessary for those of us who are receiving them. For example, there are the renovations to on-post housing, and the delusions that we get free housing. Those renovations that Mr. Wood is speaking of, are actually what are supposed to help make sure that military families are finally living in homes that are safe to live in. Many houses all across the various military installations are riddled with mold, bad foundations, cracks in walls and ceilings, rodent and bug infestations, and more problems that you should not find in a home that is properly taken care of by any property management company. I’ve had personal experience with dealing with housing conditions that you would see in a slum. We’ve dealt with mold, of which I am allergic. We have dealt with laziness with the maintenance workers that are employed by the privatized housing companies to “maintain” the housing here. I’ve seen them scrape black mold off onto our porch, and spray paint over the spots, while leaving the black mold on the porch for us to deal with. I’ve been told straight to my face that it was “just dirt” and that even though I had tested it and the tests came up positive for mold, that it was wrong, and that I was lying. I’ve had to deal with pipes leaking, a basement flooding, cracks in walls, and much more.
Let me talk about healthcare for a minute or two here now. I hear from so many misinformed individuals that we are lucky to have our healthcare paid for us. Yes, we are lucky to have it paid for us…right out of my husband’s pay. We do not get free insurance. We do not get free dental. We do have Tricare Prime, which is better than nothing, because we don’t have to pay a copay for services. However, we are limited as to where we can get services, and we have to fight to get a same-day appointment if ourselves or a child is sick. Otherwise, we get to wait for hours upon hours in the ER, and hope and pray that they give the right diagnoses this time, and treat the symptoms with more than just ibuprofen (ranger candy as we call it), a band-aid, or typical cold medicine. Military families have to jump through hoops to get help if they have a special needs child, or require special services. Most times, we are denied requests for help, because Tricare doesn’t feel they are necessary, or simply because they don’t want to pay for the services. I can not count on both hands the number of rejections we have received when trying to get help for my autistic daughter. There have been so many times that it has happened, that at times, we almost lose hope for any help at all.
Moving on now, let’s talk about those “lavish” paychecks that service members receive each year, shall we? My husband brings in less pay annually than someone who is working 30-40 hours a week as a construction worker, or factory worker. In fact, he receives less pay annually than a person in the civilian workforce doing the same job he is trained to do. However, they don’t do the “extras” that he does on a daily basis. He is up at 0500 each day (that is 5 am for those not familiar with military time). He has formation, and PT (which is physical training), then comes back for a quick shower, and to get his ACU’s on, so he can head to work, and he is at work until almost 1700, with a short lunch break somewhere in-between. He is constantly on-call. If he is needed, he is there. He did sign on to help people, and to serve his country. I just wish that this nation’s leaders would show more appreciation and respect for those in service who are risking their lives fighting overseas, and for those military families who are having to uproot themselves every couple of years to be with their husband or wife who is a service member. I wish that our government officials would for once, take a cut in their own pay, instead of cutting the pay of struggling military families. The President and his family go on numerous vacations each year, at our expense. The last time my family had a “vacation”, was when we had to get an emergency loan to drive halfway across the country for my father’s funeral. I personally don’t consider driving day and night with limited stops so you can make it to your father’s funeral on time to see him one last time before his casket is lowered into the ground much of a vacation. During the time that my husband and I were married, we spent 9 years without seeing our parents, because there was no way we could afford the trip on his pay. When I was able to work, I did, but it is extremely difficult for a spouse to get a job doing anything other than working fast food or as a cashier at a retail or grocery store. Sometimes, even getting hired at a workplace such as that is difficult, as they don’t like hiring people who will have to move within a year or so.
So, Mr. Wood, all members of Congress, and anyone else who feels the members of the United States military are spoiled and living a lavish lifestyle, I gladly welcome you to walk in the boots of a soldier who is E6 or below for just a week or two. I recommend you do it a week before payday, and right about the time the school loan creditors come calling, because you had to make the choice of either paying on the school loan, or feeding your children that week. Pay close attention to the fact that most soldiers and their families are having to depend upon food stamps, or WIC, simply to help put food on the table. That is if they are lucky enough to receive that help.
I will end with this little note: I don’t trust politicians or some so-called journalists any further than I could throw them, and I was always horrible at throwing things, just so you know. Journalists such as Mr. Wood like to only look at partial facts. They like to “hype” up the story, and use key words to grab your attention. Politicians are known worldwide for their lies, deception, and corruption. I think it has just been that way for many, many years, and I don’t see it changing any time soon. Heck, I’m still waiting on that wonderful “change” that President Obama promised us years ago.
If you would like a little further reading, I suggest taking a peek at http://homefrontunited.com/2013/03/lavish-is-a-trigger-word-merely-sustaining-is-the-reality/ and http://www.militaryfactory.com/military_pay_scale.asp when you have the time. Another helpful link is http://www.militaryhub.com/article.cfm?id=167