Military Benefits

Memorial Day in the Rearview Mirror: Soldiers as Heroes, and Victims

Elspeth Ritchie was on the front lines dealing with the military’s mental-health issues as an Army psychiatrist, including several senior positions following 9/11, for nearly a quarter century. She has studied and tended to troops’ minds on assignments around the world, including in Cuba, Iraq, Somalia, South Korea and Vietnam. She

Losing a Leg, But Gaining Wings

A freshly-minted Air Force pilot has completed his training with only one leg. First Lt. Ryan McGuire is the first-ever in Air Force history to do so. “I hope this shows people to never give up on their dream,” he says. “You have to keep your goals in mind and have faith in yourself.” McGuire lost his lower right leg in a boating …

Spouse Training at Walter Reed Wraps Up

Here’s our final dispatch from Gayla Romanowsky, who has been filing to Battleland from the new Significant Others Support Group at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Her husband, Dave, served in Iraq, where he earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Gayla attended the sessions, funded by the non-profit Walter Reed Society, to

“I see a darkness — I feel cold…something is not right.”

Many military spouses deserve Purple Hearts of their own for dealing with their troops when they return home. The Army is trying to help with week-long sessions for them at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The “Significant Others Support Group” offers basic training in how to deal with multiple deployments and the …

The Navy Says “I Do” To Same-Sex Marriages

Last Monday, the Navy was the hero across America, for the exploits of its SEALs in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. This Monday, the sea service was zero in certain quarters for saying it will permit same-sex marriages within its hallowed chapels. It marks the first of what is likely to be many thunderclaps associated with the …

Panetta’s Challenge

When the President announced his new national security team last week most of the attention focused on David Petraeus at CIA and the problem of winding down the war in Afghanistan. Leon Panetta’s nomination as Secretary of Defense went almost unnoticed, by comparison.

But Panetta has the bigger challenge: how to manage a build down in …

CBO Defense Option #3

The Congressional Budget Office offers up another option that won’t affect troops or hardware — force retirees to pay more for their post-military health care. Half the military’s officers and 15 percent of its enlisted force retire from the service, allowing them access to this bargain. The family fee since the system was revamped …

CBO Defense Option #2

Another Congressional Budget Office way to trim defense spending is to slow the rate of growth in troops’ pay. That’s going to be a tough sell, especially during wartime. For a decade, Congress has boosted the Pentagon’s annual recommendation that military pay raises match the employment cost index by adding 0.5% to each year’s ECI. …

Welcome Home, Soldier…

The gap between our publicly professed pride for our returning troops – and how they actually are treated when they need help – never ceases to amaze. The latest on this care chasm is explained on the front page of Saturday’s Washington Post. It details the woes faced by veterans who believe they have been short-changed by the …

Don’t Take The Money And Run

Our country loves our troops so much we’ll do anything to give them more money — like extending, yet again — for the sixth time — the government’s deadline for them to apply for bonuses if they had to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq beyond their enlistment period. You may recall the controversial “stop loss” orders issued to troops …

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