I read about a Staff Sergeant Simmons (or possibly Simms, I was so shocked that the name did not fully register, only the tragedy) wounded in Iraq, and learned why his family had not received any unit pay for four months. The military had not stopped his combat pay when he entered the hospital, and was reclaiming it! The result, while in accordance with the “rules,” left him and his family without pay; now that is from a “Grateful Nation!”

  It never had occurred to me just how grateful our nation can be for the sacrifices made by those in uniform. I heard rumors that some bureaucrat wants to put the VA on a “paying basis,” like any other business. Also, a combat veteran’s wife told me that her husband’s benefits are due to cease in two years. The web chatter includes talk of completely cutting health care for veterans with non-service connected ailments. Other than that, where could one find reason for concern, until now?

  All this has caused me to do some deep thinking (sic) and soul-searching.
  I see a congress (many of its members are not veterans) highly paid, and looking forward to lucrative retirement pay, while they send our troops to battle for their next-to-nothing pay. I can see no reason why the men and women, whose lives are at stake, cannot be paid the same as those who do nothing but put them at risk. I have reached this conclusion, well OK, questions: Are our troops underpaid; or is congress overpaid? The answer has to “yes” to both of those questions, if it is “yes” to either of them.

  As far as “combat” pay is concerned, it is well earned and, to be fair, it must be continued, even after, and especially when, the recipient is wounded. Combat pay makes sense, especially for a Purple Heart recipient, on a permanent basis! Many of our finest young people are in a fight more terrible than the actual combat that disabled them; and we need to ensure that they NEVER feel abandoned. They must feel that a “Grateful Nation” truly values the sacrifice they made on its behalf. That can be accomplished by granting tenure to combat wounded; they earned it!

  The Bible (Jesus speaking) advises those who would build a tower to count the cost before beginning; else the builder might have not sufficient to complete the job: Luke 14:28-30. (Read on, if you care to…about a king making war.) Does it not make sense for our nation to consider the cost, no, bear the cost to our troops? Why have our young people serve in a foreign country, subject to death or disability, and not be paid handsomely for it?

  Count the cost of building a “democracy” for a people who lack an understanding of the meaning of the word; are we able to satisfy it? Rather than democracy, people need to learn the meaning of “self determination” and “freedom.” Only then, will the benefit offset the cost to them.

  However, that is no answer to our troops. That cost, in terms of hardship, pain, disability, emotional and physical stress, has yet to be addressed in a bona fide comparison to the mere satisfaction derived from serving a nation and mankind. The scale will be unbalanced for each of those sacrificed. The answer will not be the same for all, as it can only be in individual terms. Though it can be made in a pecuniary manner, any answer will still likely fall short of the mark.

  Additionally, let’s have no more talk of cutting VA benefits for any veteran; like it or not, we veterans all went in harm’s way and have earned the undying, unlimited gratitude of those who never joined us there.

  When I was able to overcome my initial shock, one possible remedy occurred to me: Combat Pay Tenure. Why not secure combat pay for those in the military, who actually face the enemy? Not the ones who simply enter the “zone,” but the ones who are being fired upon, and possibly returning fire. Moreover, a double combat pay for “winning” a Purple Heart, which requires hospitalization.

  The idea that benefiting combat vets over and above any other benefits is superfluous, or discriminates against any other veterans has no merit, when congress enters the comparison. Some people will offer an opinion that police and other first responders are equally worthy to exceptional pay, for their hazardous duties. Still others, mostly non-veterans, opine that the enlistees knew they would possibly go into battle when they enlisted; or, that the wars fought were un-necessary to national security. I am not asking for their support here, for it would necessitate their changing their knowledge of what war is all about for the individual who fought it. That can only happen if they were to do battle themselves, instead of merely being beneficiaries of those who did.

  With these thoughts in mind, and with time being of the essence, this is a resolution to answer a need to honor our Combat Veterans:
  Resolved: Combat Pay, for those who are actually entering combat, shall be a permanent part of their pay and continue following separation from service. For those Combat Veterans awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Pay shall be times two and permanent. Both Combat Pay rates shall never be diminished, or taxed. Regardless of era, this pay increase shall apply to all surviving Combat Veterans regardless of era or service.

  It is impossible to pluck a single hair from the tail of a tiger without the consequence of the entire tiger!-Dick Wells

Dick Wells

 Dick Wells

Combat Pay for Life

 Dick Wells
Dick Wells
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