Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Most Lavish Benefit of All

An article written by David Wood that was published in late January  by Huffington Post has gained serious steam within the military community the past few days.  Originally titled “After Decades of Lavish Benefits, Military Personnel Fear Cuts”, then watered down to a less rage inciting "Defense Budget Faces Cuts to Personnel After Decade of War", the column has inspired many military and non-military families to speak out against inaccuracies and assumptions many civilians have about compensation in the armed forces.

I am not going to dismantle the article piece by piece.  My friend Karen at And Then We Laughed did a wonderful job at pointing out the errors and illustrating where Wood really gives away his complete and utter disconnect and ignorance about the service in general.  Making General rank in 16 years? 30% off at the commissary? Implying that the Pentagon pays for all of our housing costs when we live off base?  You gave yourself away, Mr. Wood.  It is a shame that none of the editors at HuffPo caught on.  Read Karen's article and you will see how I feel about all of this. 

Mr. Wood, (and any other misguided American citizen who was nodding or "liking" Mr. Wood's diatribe), the most lavish benefit of all? The all volunteer military force that exists in this country and has since the end of the Vietnam war. 

Knowing that your child won't be drafted into the service:  huge and lavish benefit.  Your right to go to college and not have to serve your country before entering the workforce: lavish (and somewhat controversial) benefit.  Being able to sleep at night knowing someone is standing the watch protecting you and your family, both at home and abroad: lavish benefit.  Having your husband or wife or child home for the holidays, not worrying about them being sent overseas at a moment's notice: Lavish benefit. 

I could go on and on and on.

The irony?  These cuts, these completely baseless and sloppy hack jobs that are being done to our Defense spending thanks to sequestration and congressional gridlock, are threatening the civilian benefits I listed above.  If you take away everything that makes the military even slightly lucrative then recruitment and retention plummet.  If you put families on Welfare, make them live in substandard housing, take away their education benefits, strip away retirement, make medical care expensive or non existent, then who on earth is going to stay in the military? 

The all volunteer force is a privilege that the American public has taken for granted.  Congress has also taken it for granted.  Since Mr. Wood obviously passed on the "lavish" lifestyle of being a service member, maybe his eyes will open when the benefit of choosing not to serve is taken away from him or his children.

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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