My daughter Kate was in the Navy. Fresh out of high school, she felt compelled to enlist, wasn't ready for college, and with the hesitant blessing of her father and me, off she went to see the world. Her ship was a huge amphibious assault ship, held 3,000 sailors and marines. Awesome. And I was damn proud of her. Still am. She learned some very valuable lessons and they got four precious years from her (and from us).
My son-in-law, Kate's sister Joanna's husband, entered the Navy several years before and went from port to port, with my daughter in tow, and then with my grandchildren in tow. They've seen and done some amazing things, and the Navy trained him for 13 years and various jobs, processes, activities, rigourous exercises, and he had every intention to staying on for 20 years.
When he had his last deployment in Kuwait, they told him that they were not going to "renew" his enlistment. He was not only shocked but saddened at the thought of not continuing to serve his country with years of schooling and experience that they paid for and encouraged. The reason: the military needs to cut back on expenses so they're targeting sailors with families.
So, off they went. No pension, just separation pay. Departed their home in military housing, their friends in San Diego, and began a life elsewhere for him to go to school and start anew.
So, what's the real problem?
The military is not paying their separated soldiers and sailors on time. They lost their pension (because they didn't finish the 20 year cycle) and now have nothing but the promise of separation pay that hasn't been seen.
Jason, my son-in-law, knows a former marine who was declared dead - four times - because of miscommunication after he departed from the military, so he has not had back pay or compensation for four years.
I read article after article about generals and other high-ranking officials who are compensated very well with yearly retirement pay that I couldn't even make in a year, and we have soldiers and sailors who are borrowing from family and friends and living almost in poverty because the government can't meet their promises.
What is wrong? I see a government entity making big promises and not keeping their word. I see young people becoming very discouraged about their elected leaders and their future.
I want people to keep their word - yeah, I guess I'm old fashioned that way.