By Willard Gray
I am a 1964, i.e., 1964, U.S. Army length of service military retiree who served this deceitful, thankless, and unforgiving nation during and over three major wars, in combat, and a dozen minor conflagrations on the “low” draft-era pay and non-existent allowances. I gave the nation the best years of my life, and was then BETRAYED along with 432,000 cohorts, of that date, on retired pay by the changing of a decades old law regarding how retired pay would be paid in the future. I can emphasize with your frustration after what you must have went through in Viet Nam and endured as you tried to return to life in this same America which we once knew.
So, for 44 years I :have witnessed, endured and seen my successor “ingrate” military retirees drawing from 1/3 – ½ of more than my cohorts and I have all these years. The variances in pay is different throughout the 25 pay grades. Less than 20,000 of my group still remain, and most of them are in a nursing home, senile or computer illiterate.
Peter. I was a party to a federal pay suit in the mid ‘60s which went all the way to the Supreme Court, and they “quickly” said, “Congress can do what they want to do with the military.” When I retired we had not had a pay raise in over five years. The month after I retired they came out with a substantial pay raise, and there has been all of 46 substantial and obscene pay raises since. Not a one of them has helped us as our COLA base is still that “low” draft-era pay. Since I retired they have also established a multitude of obscene allowances and bonuses that are criminal to say the least.
In 1968 we followed the pay suit with a political action which will be pasted to this message. And, Peter keep in mind that all we had to work with in those days was a mechanical typewriter, a stencil – if we could find a mimeograph machine in the county -, AirMail, and ‘BOOKED’ telephone calls which might take up to two days to consummate. All of this effort or activity to be done after a hard days work to make a living for a family past mid life.
Added to the pay betrayal or discrimination another major event by this nation is to impact my life concerning health care. Medicare did not even exist when I retired. Under the law which I had served I “knew “ that I had “earned” life-time health care for me and my eligible dependents. No!
In the ‘70s this same deceitful nation which you and I served notified me that on attaining age 65,when no longer subject to recall to active duty, and wanting any health care, ”Go to Social Security and apply for Medicare part B” along with the draft-dodger, highly paid civilian, and now the “ingrate” highly paid successor military retiree. Today Medicare and supplemental BC/BS insurance for me and my wife of over 60 years consume over one half of my meager retired pay.
Mary served with General George S. Patton’s Third Army Field Hospital as a captain nurse in France, Germany and Austria. Prior to that good duty she was buzz-bombed in merry ole england. She has endured this pay discrimination all these many years and payment of our heath care for 31 years. Her attitude is the same as mine which is the public does not care.
I have seen and witnessed prior service troopers of all grades and various length of service asking, pleading, and crusading for benefits which they think they were entitled to for service performed in this nation’s military service.
I see most of these efforts to be “generational” and disdainful of those who marched before them. Consequently the government and society get a free ride. In short money is the bottom line.
Peter. Life for you and I will not change. But I do wish you well.