I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
Powerful words. This is the oath every serviceman takes upon joining the military and with each subsequent new enlistment. I, like many Americans, have spoken these these words promising to put personal feelings, freedoms, prejudices, and politics aside and stand up for the will of this great nation. To not stand idly by but to participate in enforcing that will.
In my career I circled the globe, endured many hardships, long family separations, and lived in some unthinkable conditions. I gave all I had, freely knowing that my participation was for the nation that I loved. I kept allegiance to my country and remained true to that oath.
In 1995 I retired from military service. During my entire career I was promised that if I stayed in until retirement my wife and I would receive free medical and dental health care as long as we lived as a retirement benefit. For the first two years of retirement that was true. In 1997 however, President Clinton changed all that. Every serviceman upon retirement had received this benefit until 1997. The Clinton administration found that this benefit had never actually been put in writing although veterans had been receiving it with their pension for decades.
We received a notice in the mail giving us the option of signing up for Tricare (a low cost insurance) or finding our own at our own expense. A class action suit was filed in federal court and it was determined that the promise of benefits was made by recruiters who did not have the authority to make that statement.
That is a bold faced lie!
It was briefed to us during our orientation and all the way through, including our separation benefits briefing. For the first two years of my retirement these benefits were free. For the past 18 years I have had to pay for them. Our costs for coverage has gone up dramatically in the past few years for a benefit that was supposed to be part of our retirement from honorable service.
The past decade (plus) of war has produced numbers of wounded veterans this country has never experienced before. These heroes spoke the oath and put themselves in harms way for the will of our nation, paying a substantial price for their decision. The Obama Administration has proposed an eight billion dollar cut to Tricare benefits ... benefits for the very people they sent to enforce their will.
Veterans of this nation comprise 10 percent of the total population. Veterans receiving benefits are a fraction of that. I realize that our nation has put itself in financial trouble but to pull benefits from people who swore to uphold and defend at even the cost of their own lives ... Is that any way to Thank a Veteran?
Please comment on this article and contact your local representatives and ask them to protect the people who took the oath to protect you.