Senator wants to lower retirement age for troops - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Senator wants to lower retirement age for troops

November 8, 2005

Albany--National Guard and reserve members could get retirement benefits sooner if a Georgia senator gets his way. Senator Saxby Chambliss wants to lower the age at which they qualify for that pay.

With war waging in Iraq, Chambliss says it's time to lower the retirement age for the men and women serving in the Guard and reserve.

"The way we are using the Guard and the reserve has fundamentally changed. Based on this fact, it is only appropriate to consider that how we compensate and reward our reservists needs to change," says the senator.

Chambliss says the longer troops serve, the earlier they should qualify for retirement pay with the minimum age set at 50.

"We're not really compensated for all the time we spend in the guard," says Willie Harris with the Albany National Guard Armory.

Harris says the idea is long overdue.

"We're constantly being called upon more and more. And it's really a strain to us to have a regular job, family time, then guard time, because the demand on us have increased ten-fold over the last couple of years," he says.

Chambliss says the role of the National Guard and reserve is more important now than ever. He hopes the senate will soon adopt a policy that benefits the hard work of those troops.

"There is certainly no more important piece of legislation to show support by this body, by the house, and by the American people to our men and women in uniform by making sure we provide quality of life issues for them," says Chambliss.

As for Harris, the policy can't come soon enough.

"I just hope they hurry up and speed up the bill and fund it," says Harris.

Chambliss hasn't received much support for previous forms of his plan but hopes for better results this time.

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