Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 5, 2013

If anyone deserves entitlements, it’s the veterans

 John Bury’s reader commentary (“For many veterans, the war is not yet over,” May 2 Times-News) painfully illustrates the plight many veterans and military retirees must endure just to garner a morsel of the medical attention which was pledged when we signed on that dotted line; raised our right hand and swore to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to obey the orders of the President and officers appointed over us (till death do us part, Amen).

If there is any segment of our society that is worthy of entitlement, it is those men and women who serve in our armed forces.

  There once was a time when any honorably discharged veteran who possessed a blue “retiree” ID card could walk into any military medical facility and receive treatment regardless of how or when the ailment was contracted or inflicted.

Some time after the first Gulf War (circa 1991), that door was slammed shut on all Veterans and retirees when DOD implemented TRICARE.

This breach of faith not only cut off access to military hospitals for veterans/retirees; but forced active duty members to pay an annual insurance type premium just to gain access to military medical care for their spouse and children.

Another promise of indirect compensation broken by some pencil necked geek in Congress just to save a buck.

I can still hear the career counselor back in 1979 who convinced me to reenlist and make the Navy a career; “You serve 20 years and retire honorably, son; you’ll get a pension and medical benefits. The Navy takes care of its own, shipmate!”

That promise of indirect compensation (a bunk, three squares a day, commissary and exchange privileges, and access to medical and dental treatment) made earning a meager $280 pay check every two weeks worthwhile.

That trust I put into my shipmates pledge back in 1979 was broken by some nameless politicians and bureaucrats in Washington who corrupted the systems of retirement benefits to pay for scams and pork to line their pockets and constituents back home.

This betrayal was complete for me in 1999 when I retired after 24 years to discover that there was no dental benefit, no optical benefit, no prescription drug benefit, and NO medical benefits (unless it was deemed service related by the VA).

In other words, if I have an ingrown toenail that becomes infected; it’s my responsibility. But if I can prove that my heart attack in 2010 was due to 22 years of service as a tactical air controller, then the VA might step in.

I find it appalling that young men and women are enlisting today with the laughable assortment of educational, medical, and pension benefits presented as enticements to serve and defend.

This betrayal by Congress is nothing new. General Washington wrestled with Congress to properly arm, cloth, feed, and ironically enough, to honor its promise of benefits and pensions to Revolutionary War Veterans.

230 years later, the same snakes and weasels that infested the halls of the Congress in Philadelphia are still dealing in lies and deceit today. Happy Veterans Day, everyone.

CPO John R. Walker, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Cold War, tanker wars, First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm)

 Little Orleans

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting

    Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.

    April 10, 2014

  • New policies will grow better streamside buffers

    Well-functioning forest buffers along streams are perhaps the most effective and least costly best management practice we have to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

    April 10, 2014

  • National Day of Prayer events begin April 30

    The Cumberland National Day of Prayer Committee has finalized plans for the 63rd annual observance, with a prayer rally, a breakfast, an outdoor worship ceremony and youth rally planned April 30 through May 2.

    April 9, 2014