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Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Letter To Senator Webb (D-Va) Concerning The Proposed Cuts To Military And Veterans' Benefits.

I ask that you contact your elected officials concerning these proposed cuts.  Our service members and veterans deserve only the very best!

-ADY "A Regular Guy On The Issues"



November 25, 2010

The Hon. James Webb
United States Senate
144 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510.

Subject: The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform's Proposed Cuts to Military and Veterans' Benefits.

Dear Mr. Senator:

Good afternoon Sir. I hope this letter finds you doing well and having a happy Thanksgiving. I wanted to take some time and write to you concerning your recent statements on the military and defense budget and the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform's proposed cuts to military and veterans' benefits.  I am a fellow Democrat and a 28 year old husband, father and college student.  I am pursuing my degree in Nursing with the goal of eventually becoming a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner so that I can better help our service members and veterans.  I am also a former Marine and four-tour Iraq War veteran.  Currently, I am serving as a medic in the Army Reserve.  With all of that being said, as a libertarian minded Democrat, I applaud the President for forming this commission in order to get rid of wasteful spending and unnecessary programs.  I also applaud your honest assessment of possible hard choices facing the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration concerning their budget and benefit programs.  I truly believe there are numerous wastful, unecesary programs that can and should be cut in order to reduce the deficit and ease the burden placed on taxpayers.  However, a cut in military personell strength and benefits is not the answer.  

As you know, some of the proposed cuts include a basic pay and housing allowance freeze, a reduction in the Cost of Living Allowance, elimination of the 20 year military retirement and/or postponement until the age of 60 for actual retirement pension payments, as well as an increase in TRICARE premiums and co-pays.  As a husband and father of a 20 month old son, my wife and I benefit greatly from our access to TRICARE health insurance.  

While trying to fight two wars, as well as defend against and remain vigilant of numerous other threats around the world, proposing cuts to troop strength and military and veteran benefits is incomprehensible to me.  Not only is a high personnel level necessary for an adequate defense, allowing people to join and stay in the military helps combat unemployment.  Cutting benefits would leave many service members without an incentive to remain in the military, and frankly, it angers me and feels like a slap in the face.  It sends the message that the very people that rely on and expect our service think us undeserving of a rightly earned salary and benefits.  To lump us in with and think of the services that we provide in the same way that one may view those of civilian government agencies and employees is disrespectful.

Mr. Senator, I believe that you are an American hero, and I am very thankful for your service to our country.  If anyone knows the sacrifices made daily by our military and their families, it's you.  Just as you have done for so many years, I ask that you keep fighting for our men and women in uniform.  We can never fully repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the brave men and women who serve our country, but we must always try. We must respect and honor that service by providing them with the best possible pay, benefits, and health care.

In closing, I ask that, as a fellow veteran, a United States Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs Committees, that you never support or vote to approve any cuts to troop strength levels or military and veterans benefits.  Thank you for your time, and please feel free to contact me regarding this letter.  I hope to hear from you soon.  Semper Fidelis.


Aaron D. Yeargan      

CC:  The Office of the President
        The Office of the Vice President
        The Office of the Senate Majority Leader
        The Office of the Senate Minority Leader
        The Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
        The Office of the House Minority Leader
        The Senate Armed Services Committee
        The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
        The Senate Appropriations Committee
        The House Armed Services Committee
        The House Veterans' Affairs Committee
        The House Appropriations Committee
        The Office of the Secretary of Defense
        The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
        The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
        The Office of the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
        The Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
        The Office of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
        The Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps
        The Office of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
        The Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army
        The Office of the Command Sergeant Major of the Army
        The Office of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force
        The Office of the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
        The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
        The Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
        The Office of the Commandant of the Coast Guard
        The Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
        The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
        Mr. Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
        The Hon. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
        The Hon. Richard Burr (R-NC)

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