Friday, January 7, 2011


I almost didn’t write this. Why? The Florida room was cold. That’s where the lap top was sitting. And I didn’t want to get out of my warm bed and go get it. But then, I thought of a hungry shivering soldier in a fox hole keeping me safe tonight.

Do those fighting for us on the battlefront need to fight for us on the home front as well? Are we the ones hiding in a foxhole? Following is an e-mail I recently received...

CINDY WILLIAMS was appointed by Obama as an Assistant Director for NATIONAL SECURITY in the Congressional Budget Office..... Military Pay. This is an Airman's response to Cindy Williams' editorial piece in the Washington Times about MILITARY PAY, it should be printed in all newspapers across America. Ms. Cindy William wrote a piece for the Washington Times denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service members' way this year citing that she stated a 13% wage increase was more than they deserve.

A young airman from Hill AFB responds to her article below. He ought to get a bonus for this.

"Ms Williams: I just had the pleasure of reading your column, "Our GI's earn enough" and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I'm wondering where this vaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and my bank account. Checking my latest earnings statement I see that I make $1,117.80 before taxes per month. After taxes, I take home $874.20.. When I run that through the calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413.60 before taxes, and $10,490.40 after.

I work in the Air Force Network Control Center where I am part of the team responsible for a 5,000 host computer network. I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with Cisco Systems equipment. A quick check under jobs for "Network Technicians" in the Washington, D.C. Area reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years experience in my job. Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year. No, this job is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum............ I'm sure you can draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you NEVER had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces. Before you take it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership for attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets off of WIC and food stamps, I suggest that you join a

group of deploying soldiers headed for AFGHANISTAN; I leave the choice of service branch up to you. Whatever choice you make though, opt for the SIX month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your family and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience.

"As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care to note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able to make ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone. Obviously they've been squandering the "vast" piles of cash the government has been giving them.

Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are perennial favorites. And when you're actually over there, sitting in a foxhole, shivering against the cold desert night, and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough people on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE's (meal-ready-to-eat) you manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add Tabasco to everything. This gives some flavor.

Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't be nearly long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for it. You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the points you present in your open piece. But, tomorrow from KABUL, I will defend to the death your right to say it.

You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First Amendment right and every other right you cherish...On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you can thumb your collective noses at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe. We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies. And you, Ms. Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve?

A1C Michael Bragg, Hill AFB AFNCC

God forgive us for allowing those on the front lines go hungry, while paying fat cats who kiss babies in front of the camera and vote to kill them behind it. God forgive us.

Forgive us for allowing those we don’t trust to lead us. For allowing greed to fuel the system we have voted in; it’s all consuming lust devours everything it touches. It has swallowed the past present and future and has sold us into bondage to a nation that’s against us.

We have allowed this to happen by our complacency. Forgive us for allowing smiling faces and pretty speeches to lie us to sleep and pick our pockets..

I wish we could reverse the fortunes and pay military the salaries of the fat cat politicians. I think our country could turn around if our priorities did.

Lord, help us wake up, stand up and speak up… “Up” being the operative word. Help us to look up to You – the only place where our help can come from.

Help us right here, right now to make a decision to do what’s right in our sphere of influence. To do what’s right before You even when no one’s looking. To hold ourselves accountable to do right and be right – that means holding those entrusted to us accountable as well.

We acknowledge we are messed up. It’ll take a miracle. It’ll take a united front. But that’s not too hard for You. And that’s not too hard for a country named for it’s unity; The United States of America.

She can stand tall again. She can stand strong because her foundation is strong and just and true. As pure a nation as has ever been born is the red the white and the blue.

Lord, it is written. “By Your stripes we are healed.” We pray Your scars and stripes will heal our stars and stripes.



Glynn said...

And they don't understand why people get angry. They truly don't. And that's rather frightening.

Thanks for sharing this, Doug.

a sojourner said...

what truly amazes me is the fact that our armed forces are STILL only drawing a measly payment at entry level. at the very minimum the entry level soldier should be drawing a living wage. especially in todays "all volunteer" armed forces. they truly are sacrificing their lives for us willingly and this is how our country treats them? i was/am shocked to learn that the pay grade has remained so low for all these years.

amen to your prayer too!

S. Etole said...

Yes, Doug ... thank you.