God Bless Her Husband–He Will Need It

The Marine Times posted an article yesterday that indicates how warped some parts of our society have become. There was a time in this country when military veterans and people serving in the military were honored. Although that is still the case in many places, it is far from universal.

The article deals with a bride who asked a wedding guest to leave because he is a Marine and wore his dress blues to her wedding.

This is her comment:

“Now, I have nothing against anyone in the military but this was a black tie optional wedding and frankly it felt very out of place and it seemed like he was just trying to show off. My wedding had over 300 guests and nobody else felt the need to wear something to make them stand out.”

I believe Marine dress blues are appropriate in a black tie situation.

Further comments indicate that she was simply jealous of the attention he was getting:

Emanating a “thank you for your service” radius of nearly 50 meters, the Marine — and what the bride perceived to be a “Semper I” aura — finally proved to be too much “mota, mota, gotta lotta” motivation to handle.

“Frankly it just felt like the only reason he wore that was to be in the spotlight and make it about him, which I don’t think you are supposed to do at someone else’s wedding,” she wrote.

“If he wants to wear that to his own wedding then fine, but the whole point of having a dress code at a wedding is so that no one guest will stand out too much.”

My sympathies to the bride’s husband. It seems as if this lady has some growing to do. She comes across as a spoiled brat.

 

Good News

Yesterday Fox News reported the following:

The caliphate has crumbled, and the final offensive is over. While the official announcement hasn’t yet been made – Fox News has been told that this village, the last ISIS stronghold, is liberated.

It’s the first time since we’ve been here in Syria for five days that the bombs have stopped dropping and the gunfire has disappeared. We have witnessed the end of the caliphate – the brutal empire that once ruled over 8 million people – is gone.

Troops here are now bringing down the black flags of ISIS. The flags no longer fly over the town, instilling fear.

…None of the main surviving ISIS leaders have been caught inside Baghouz. Instead, they left their men to fight alone. It’s thought they prepared ahead for the insurgency.

The scale of the devastation here is incredible. And everyone acknowledges that without U.S. support, it would have taken far longer.

For four-and-a-half years, ISIS held this territory, ruling over it with an iron fist. It was the terrorist group’s heartland – and they were so dug in that the only way to push them back was to flatten whole villages. The devastation here goes on for miles – and craters like this are a reminder of the critical role played by U.S. airpower. Military jets still fly overhead.

SDF fighters are all so grateful to the U.S., not just for their help in the battle, but now for its decision to leave troops here when it’s done. Reports now suggest the figure may be around 1,000 staying.

We need to leave enough of a force to prevent ISIS from reassembling. As the article stated, the leaders fled and left the lower ranking members to fight. That means the leaders are still somewhere, possibly plotting how to take power again. I don’t want to fight the battles for all of the people in the Middle East, but if our assistance means that the bad guys will lose power,  I think we need to be ready to assist.

From The Heart

This is a post from a site called militaryspouse.com. Sometimes we forget the price the families of our military pay.

Weary Military Spouse Confessions

I am tired. I am over this thing we call “military life”.

Right off the bat I can hear the comments. “You knew what you were getting into”, “What do you have to complain about… you are not the service member”, “Suck it up, Buttercup”.

And all those comments make me want to punch a hole through the wall. This white wall that I am staring at, in a place that is supposed to feel like home because “home is where the heart is” or some other well-meaning cliché. But this doesn’t feel like home. At all.

I have been a military spouse since many reading this were in diapers. I was a spouse before 9/11… a young spouse then, new to military life and full of positivity and an eagerness to embrace this strange new world I married into. Even years after the towers fell, I was still optimistic. That first war-time deployment was hard, but my fellow military spouses saved me. We saved each other. Re-connecting with my husband was a bit challenging, but nothing we couldn’t handle. He was home alive… and that was all that mattered, right?

The first couple of PCS moves brought tears to my eyes… but the kids adjusted well and we all made new friends and it was an adventure. I was getting the hang of re-arranging our stuff to fit a new place. I knew all the tips and tricks about how to make a move go smoothly. I tried not to be too upset if something was damaged. It happens… and they are just things after all. Our immediate family was together, and that was the most important thing in the world.

I don’t know exactly when the shift happened. It kind of feels like a gradual thing… each deployment, each TDY, each PCS move, each homecoming… all chipping away at me. Wearing my skin thin. Making me more tired by the minute. And now, I just feel weary… all of the time.

I am weary of turning on the news and not seeing the numbers of dead reported… because it has just become too commonplace to be newsworthy.

I am weary of watching my children fight back tears as they say goodbye, again… and of watching them struggle to find their place in a new school.

I am weary of sending my husband away again… not knowing if this will be the time he doesn’t get so lucky.

I am weary of spending a large portion of my married life alone… even when he is “home”.

I am weary of lying in bed awake with worry at night over all of the unknowns of military life… and that doesn’t even count deployment.

I am weary of being told how lucky we are to have free health insurance and a steady paycheck… as if it were a gift.

I am weary of being away from extended family… I miss them terribly.

I am weary of making great friends and then saying goodbye… never seeing them again except on Facebook.

I am weary of witnessing the heartbreaking changes in my husband, that he won’t get help for… because he didn’t see combat after all. It wouldn’t be right.

I am weary of wondering what changes I will continue to see in my kids… who have known nothing but a life as a military child, with an active duty parent, during a time of war.

I am weary of the changes I KNOW are happening within in me… but I am too busy worrying about everyone else and just trying to get by, to ever seek help for myself.

I am weary of trying to be positive about the whole thing.

I am weary of people telling me how wonderful this life can be.

I am weary of putting on a brave face.

I am weary of not being honest about it all.

My husband only has a short time left in the military, and I am hopeful that my feelings are just indicative of how long we have been a part of this life… and that we are ready to move on to the next chapter. Am I grateful for the things that we have gained from my husband’s military service? Of course. But I am also well aware of the things we have given up. And I know that our weariness is a clear sign that it is time for his service to this great nation to come to an end.

I don’t write this for sympathy… I write it in hopes that if there are others out there feeling the same, they will feel a little less alone. I write it so that I can be honest about my feelings, an important first step in trying to get past them. Please don’t misunderstand. I am extremely proud of my husband, his service, and how our family has supported him for all of these years.

But I am weary. So weary.

And I don’t believe I am alone

Remember our military and their families in your prayers.

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Further Information On The COLA Cuts To Military Pensions

As someone with a family member in the military, the cuts to the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) on military pensions hit close to home. Not only are they the ONLY cuts made in the budget agreement, they also represent a broken promise to our military troops. One of the best articles I have seen on the subject is posted at Allen West’s website.

The article reminds us that the four retired senior officers — three generals and one admiral–who supported the cut would not be impacted by the change in the rules. However, there are some retired senior enlisted men who are impacted who are speaking out.

One of those senior enlisted men shares the story of a friend who landed a high-paying job with a defense contractor in the same field he worked in on active duty:

But several years later, the company went bankrupt, and Hoynes, a former chief operations specialist, found himself jobless. Now Hoynes and his wife must rely on his $1,600-a-month military retirement pay (after taxes, health care and insurance payments) and her small retail salary to pay the bills.

If the cost-of-living adjustment reduction to military retired pay included in the Bipartisan Budget Act goes into effect in December 2015, the retired chief, now 50, stands to lose as much as $55,000 in retirement pay over his lifetime.

This is obscene simply on the facts, but it is even more obscene that it represents a broken promise to our military.

Allen West also points out:

There are close to 350,000,000 Americans and 840,000 have to be sacrificed to support the legislative budgetary process? That’s two-tenths of a percent. All over $6 billion? You mean to tell me that lawmakers in Washington DC — Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray specifically — could not find $6 billion dollars elsewhere? Hmm, will one of them explain to retired Chief Chip Hoynes and his wife that a Member of Congress only needs to serve 5 years to earn 70 percent retirement, for life (since it goes to the spouse upon death of the Member)?

This needs to be corrected as soon as Congress resumes. Otherwise the Republicans who signed on to this deal should be quickly voted out of office.

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Breaking Faith With The Brave Men And Women Who Defend Us

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill negotiated by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) and Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), would only restore retirement benefits for 17.5 percent of military retirees.

The article reports:

Title X of the bill exempts veterans who receive Chapter 61 retirement. Chapter 61 applies to combat veterans who are disabled as a result of their service. The spouses of deceased veterans will also be exempt, according to section 10001 of the legislation.

However, the bill keeps in place the one percent decrease in the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for all other military retirees. The change, effective December 2015, affects retirees under the age of 62 and will result in thousands of dollars in lost retirement pay.

Enlisted servicemembers could lose a minimum of $72,000 over a 20 year period of their retirement, while commissioned officers could face up to $124,000 in lost compensation.

I don’t care if it saves a million billion dollars, there is no excuse for doing this. It is breaking a contract made with military currently serving–this is not what they were told when they signed up. Our current military has done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have missed the birth of their children, children’s birthdays, graduations, dance recitals, etc.,. because they were overseas serving their country. Now their country is giving them the short end of the stick.

Americans were left with the impression that this would be changed in the final bill. It has NOT been changed. The bill is being passed under the radar in the hopes that no one will notice. Please raise a ruckus about this. Call you Congressman and register your disgust.

This is outrageous!

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The Personal Impact Of The Budget Deal–One Person’s Story

Somehow because of the size of our government and the amount of money taken from taxpayers to run it, we sometimes forget what some of the spending represents. Every now and then it’s a good idea to look at a story that illustrates where the money goes and why. Here is a story that explains one aspect of government spending.

Stacy Huisman posted an article at Militaryspouse.com recently. The article explains how the recent budget deal will impact her husband’s retirement pay and her family. The money cut from his retirement pay was the money they had planned to use to pay for their children’s’ college education. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It illustrates beautifully the price our military families pay when one of their family members serves in the military.

There are a few aspects to the cut to retirement pay. First of all, that retirement pay was promised to our military when they signed up–they earned it. It was assumed that the cost of living increases in that pay were included in that promise. There is also the aspect of the price military families pay for having a family member in the military for twenty or more years. One on my own granddaughters is in fifth grade. She started attending her third elementary school in six years in September. Another granddaughter is in third grade. She is attending her second elementary school in three years. That is a high price to pay. She is living near her grandparents (my husband and I) because we chose to move to be close to her family–not because her family had a choice as to where they would live.

The thing that really bothers me about the budget deal is that military retirement was cut, but civil service retirement was not cut. Public sector workers make more than private sector workers to begin with. The public sector workers are now required to contribute a small amount to their pensions–something private sector workers have been doing for years, but they are still better compensated than the private sector.

The chart below is taken from a 2010 post by the Congressional Budget Office. As you can see, unless you have an advanced degree, it pays to work for the government.

 

The budget did not need to be cut at the expense of our military–there was enough pork in the public sector to avoid breaking a promise to those military families who serve our country.

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There Is No Real News Value To This Story–It Is Simply Nostalgic !

On Monday Business Insider posted a series of pictures taken inside the Intrepid–the parts where tourists are not allowed. Since my husband was in a Naval Air Squadron that was stationed on the Intrepid in the late 1960’s, I stopped to look at the pictures. Please follow the link above for the tour!

There are some lights on back here so it's easy to spot the odd items that make this feel like a time-warp — this type of soda was popular in the 1970s

This is one example of the time warp they discovered. When was the last time you saw a patio soda can?

The Navy brought us to New England and we stayed because we fell in love with the people and the scenery. I still have not gotten used to the climate!

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