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Winston Shaffer  
Floresville, TX  
March 12, 2012 1:24am
Alvin, your ignorance is showing. As a retired O-5 (Lieutenant Colonel), I donít get $80-85k in retired pay in fact it is IMPOSSIBLE. Yes, mathematically impossible to get $80k as a retired O-5 and a 5th grader could do the math. Of course, if you did research you would know that. So, if you donít have facts or refuse to at least do some research, please donít comment or at least put a put a disclaimed that your speaking from a total lack of knowledge.

First, less than 10% of the officers who enter the military retire at the rank of O-5 or better. Next, recruiters and military officials promised free medical care for life. Since Alvin doesnít do research, I will give him a nugget. The US Supreme Court agreed that the military did promise military members free lifetime medical care. However, Supreme Court said the military did not have the authority to make that promise so we have to pay. I probably should have stayed at home and got free medical care, free food and housing like Alvinís ilk approves.

Instead, we served in hostile places with over 5,500 deaths and 38,000 injuries during the recent war; a war that has lasted over ten years. How many have been shot at, shelled or just had to adapt to the stress of living and following directions without the option of quitting until your contract runs out? Very few make it to retirement in the military. However, we know that over 500,000 veterans have been treated at the VA from the recent wars. I imagine living in government subsidized housing, getting food stamps and Medicaid is just as stressful.

Of course, Alvin wants the military to share the pain. The years apart from our family and the dirt and death we saw counts for nothing. How did the unionized government employees fair with their share of the pain? NONE. There are over 490,000 (over 22% of the entire workforce) civilian government employees who make over $100,000/year. There is no one asking for them to pay more for medical care.

So, letís look at facts (yes, facts Alvin): The military is trying to save $1.8B in Tricare costs for FY13. The DOD budget is $613.8B. So, they are trying to get 0.3% of the budget off military retires. I am sure that can find $1.8B somewhere else.

If it is the overall budget you are worried about, Medicare costs $283 billion (reduce budget by 0.64% to pay from military Tricare costs), Federal Food stamps costs $68B (reduce budget by 2.65% to pay from military Tricare costs, Federal Public Housing costs $6.9B and then there was a $4B Federal Housing Stimulus. A rank and file Congressman makes $174,000/year. The FISD Superintendent makes $128,000/year. The district also pays $10,632 towards the Superintendentís healthcare and he does not have to pay any out of pocket medical expenses.

As for military members being overpaid, on what planet did you arrive at that conclusion? In order to get promoted you have to get advanced degrees and take professional military education. You basically canít be promoted to E-9 (Chief) without at least a Bachelorís Degree. You canít be promoted to O-4 (Major) unless you have a Masterís Degree and take Primary Developmental Education which is Squadron Officer School (SOS) for USAF members. For O-5, you have to take Intermediate Developmental Education which is Air Command Staff College (ACSC) for USAF members. I took both. There are some colleges that even grant a Masterís Degree for completion of ACSC. I also am a Registered Environmental Manager (REM) and hold a Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification. The responsibility of an O-5 (Lt Col) is equivalent to Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, or Program Director. The salaries in the Civilian world are much higher than a military salary and not nearly as dangerous.

I wore the uniform for 25 years. I have a Bachelorís Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masterís Degree in Environmental Science. I have graduated from both SOS and ACSC. One reason, I retired is because I could make more money retired from the military than I could continuing to wear the uniform. Also, who wants to live in the foreign places, place your life in harmís way on a daily basis and travel so much you rarely see your family? I am now a disabled veteran due to the numerous things that happened to me on active duty. I am so sick of people like Alvin, who thinks the military is this haphazard life of easy money. When you start cutting the entitlements to the true freeloaders on society, then we can talk. I have an even better idea, how about you and Obama make GE which made $14.1 billion in profits pay more than the zero on their federal taxes. Of course, Obama has to pay off his friends. I got another thought instead of spending a trillion dollars (more money for Obamaís friends) on Stimulus, why donít you use the stimulus and take 1% of it and pay for military medical expenses. I am not begrudging anyone, but veterans should be the last funding cut. There is too much fraud, waste, and political payoffs that should be targeted first. So, Alvin I earned my retirement, and I deserve my medical benefits, and I could have made more money on the outside, but I loved my country enough to serve in spite of the financial, physical and emotional costs. If you feel it necessary to rant and rave about the military being overpaid, could you at least provide some sort of justification? Do they make more than civilian government workers or private sector; do they have a higher life expectancy than the average US worker; is their life so easy that they have less medical care over there lifetime, etc? In the meantime, my comrades will live in harmís way, be killed and injured and suffer lifetime pain and be under appreciated by people like Alvin. Alvin you have the right to free speech, but you also the right to be questioned when you present unsubstantiated comments and irrational statements. In fact, I find your comments uneducated and offensive.

Winston J Shaffer II
Lt Col, USAF, Retired
Disabled Veteran
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