Military pension cuts proposed, Veterans fight - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Military pension cuts proposed, Veterans fight

As the Department of Defense continues to look at budget cutbacks, a Pentagon panel is zeroing in on military pensions.

The National Commander of the American Legion is drawing a line in the sand over retirement pay.

He issued a scathing email saying cutting military retirement benefits earned by warriors is unconscionable.

South Georgia veterans agree.

We spoke with one special forces instructor and retired veteran who says even the proposal of revamping military pension is not getting a warm reception.

The fight for freedom is a war waged every day. Now retired veterans are preparing for a fight to keep a promise made to the soldiers standing on the front line.

"They're too busy fighting terrorism to be able to say a whole lot and they can't speak for themselves, they're not allowed to say but so much, it should be, well it's my duty as a Veteran," said Clete Sinyard, a Vietnam Veteran.

Clete Sinyard who saw combat in Vietnam is speaking up for current troops over a proposal to cut military pensions for a 401K. He knows the cost of a military career.

"My enlistment physical I was in perfect physical condition, but my retirement physical, between that and my retirement physical is a roadmap to bad health," said Sinyard.

Not to mention the sacrifices troops and military families make for what he describes as nominal pay compared to the private sector.

"I talk to guys every month that have had five and six tours, they might get six months home before they're re-deployed for another year, it's a tremendous sacrifice," said Sinyard.

The U.S. American Legion Commander has also taken a stand saying, "These are the people who have sacrificed their lives, their bodies, their peace of mind and - in some cases - their hopes and dreams for this nation," said Johnnie Foster. Sinyard worries what it could mean to recruitment.

"This could have a grave impact on recruitment of young men and women who would otherwise make a military career," said Sinyard.

He hopes and prays someone will take another critical look at the matter and not pin down soldiers financially during a time of combat.

The report claims the program costs are rising at an alarming rate which is why changes are recommended.

The Department of Defense has stressed this is only a proposal and no changes will be made anytime soon. A discussion over the proposal is expected later this month.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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