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Readers sound off on proposed BAH cuts, the Pentagon's plan for 'instant colonels,' Benghazi

July 24, 2016 (Photo Credit: John Harman/Staff)

Readers weighed in on the Pentagon's controversial plan to hire military leaders off the street, a proposal to cut Basic Allowance for Housing payments for dual military couples, and a new report on the investigation into the response to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya. 

Have an opinion you'd like to share? Send a letter to the editor at: 

Earned, never given 

I have reviewed the information regarding the discussion on making “instant colonels" and wish to offer my opinion.

First, what happened to the expression “always earned, never given?” To allow any individual to gain access to the Corps without having to go through the Crucible at boot camp or the experience of learning what it means to wear the eagle, globe and anchor is pure folly. It flies in the face of everything it means to be a Marine.

Second, if this program is instituted, will those who become instant Marines be subject to all the same regulations, transfers and assignments as other Marines? Or will they be “restricted” to only those billets that are peculiar to the specialty to which they are assigned?

Third, what happened to the civil service system? There are many positions within the military establishment in which civilian managers supervise military members. If there is a shortage of a particular specialty, why not just create a new civil service position? It makes no sense to anoint someone a Marine when there are other options available to those non-military personnel who are making these ridiculous decisions.

I had to earn my title as Marine — so must all who follow.

Marine Lt. Col. Ronald Neubauer (ret.)

St. Peters, Mo.

BAH cut proposal a ‘slap in the face’

In addition to patriotism, what are some of the top reasons that people join the military? School, job security, medical benefits and housing benefits are among them. Now, what happens when you start taking benefits that service members earn when they pledge to uphold the Constitution? You hurt the people protecting this great country.

Because the Senate version of the defense authorization bill would limit dual-military couples to one Basic Allowance for Housing payment, many — and I mean many — people are about to lose their ever loving minds. How can we target not only military members but military-to-military couples?

Kirtland privatized housing
A reader says the proposal to limit dual-military couples to a single Basic Allowance for Housing is unfair and will damage retention.
Photo Credit: Todd Berenger/Air Force

I joined the Air Force in March 2010. I enlisted for four years and later re-enlisted. Both enlistments were as a single airman. I got married to another military member in 2014. So now that I found someone who loves me and with whom I want to spend my life, we’re being penalized? I took both enlistments as myself, not myself plus one. My husband is also on his second enlistment. When we enlist we are doing it as two different people, separately. This isn’t a two-for-one special, folks. We all earn our military benefits.

I have and will continue to give up everything the military needs from me, but why I am being looked at as a plus one? Are you also going to cut my paycheck as well? This is a big issue for 34,000 military members in the Air Force who are dual military. I read the op-ed by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody, which she stated that 28 percent of women in the military are married to another military member. Now, it feels like we are being targeted. Why push people further and further from wanting to serve? We all sacrifice, but we do it as individuals.

Is Congress prepared to lose not only the country’s military members, but their knowledge and experience? If we mean enough to you, you will help change this provision, which will screw over a lot of people who have worked hard for this country. As a plea for all military members, lets remove the BAH amendment detailed in Section 604 of the NDAA.

If we don’t get this resolved, it will be a huge slap in the face to everyone who took the oath, just like myself.

Senior Airman Kimber Rachuy

Osan Air Base, South Korea


Regarding the letter by Senior Airman Kimber Rachuy criticizing the proposal to limit the basic housing allowance to one person in dual-military couples:

I completely agree with the E-4 who said this is a “slap in the face” to consider giving a dual military couple a single BAH. My husband is also an E-3, and we barely make enough to survive and pay our bills while trying to start a family. He just left on deployment, and I’m about to go myself, and for them to say that we don’t need that money is insane. The rest of the BAH after bills is only about $100 to $200 for myself and most of my friends and we use it to put food on the table or try to save it for our future.

To say that we deserve to be paid less than a McDonald’s employee is beyond disrespectful and will cause many of us to get out of the military.

Navy ACAN Shannon Green

Norfolk, Va.

A president’s duty

In response to the July 11 editorial on the State Department’s response to the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya:

Squarely on target! As readers will recall, Hillary Clinton ran a 2008 presidential campaign TV ad asking who they wanted answering the phone as commander-in-chief given a 3 a.m. crisis call. Based on her lack of command performance given the opportunity during the Benghazi attacks I think we know the answer is not a Clinton!

Army Col. John R. Baer (ret.)

Yorktown, Va.


Having served in the Air Force Security Service for 21 years I believe that the president’s primary and most important job is that of commander in chief. Everything else is just politics.

When it is necessary to use military force, the president must make pragmatic decisions that will get the job done with minimum force.

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
Photo Credit: AFP

Consequently, I do not plan to vote for any of the current front runners. If so, it will mark the first time that has been the case since I was old enough to vote – and I’m now 81 years of age.

Air Force Master Sgt. Don Peavy (ret.)

San Angelo, Texas 


I am an Army veteran. During the times I deployed in air-defense commands, we always knew what the standard operating procedure was before our missions.

How can Marines be deployed in a hostile situation and not know beforehand what the SOP was?

Looks like too much politics and not enough decisive action in play here. In combat, there is no time for making political decisions just time to saddle up and kick some ass.

Shape up, troops!

Veteran Army Sgt. George Wallot

Vista, Calif. 

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