Enlisted retirees speak out about COLA cuts

Top row: Carlton Kent, Charles Bowen, Joe Campa. Bottom row: Jack Tilley, Jim Roy, Vince Patton (Military Times)

Recently we reported about the four retired senior officers — three generals and one admiral — who supported the decision to cut the annual military and medically disabled retiree Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) by one percent until the retiree reaches the age of 62.

Of course, not one of those flag officers would be affected by the decision, and one of them served in the Obama administration as the National Security Advisor, Marine General James Jones. Any wonder why enlisted troops can’t stand certain officers?

According to Patricia Kime writing in the Military Times, six retired sergeants major, master chiefs and chief master sergeants are speaking out on behalf of those who will be affected if the cuts are not repealed by Congress. They are:

■ Retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy
■ Retired Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent
■ Retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SW/FMF) Joe Campa
■ Retired Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley
■ Retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Charles “Skip” Bowen
■ Retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Vince Patton

Kime tells the story of Chip Hoynes who retired from the Coast Guard in 2007 as a Chief Petty Officer (E7), landing a high-paying job with a defense contractor in the same field he worked in on active duty.

But several years later, the company went bankrupt, and Hoynes, a former chief operations specialist, found himself jobless. Now Hoynes and his wife must rely on his $1,600-a-month military retirement pay (after taxes, health care and insurance payments) and her small retail salary to pay the bills.

If the cost-of-living adjustment reduction to military retired pay included in the Bipartisan Budget Act goes into effect in December 2015, the retired chief, now 50, stands to lose as much as $55,000 in retirement pay over his lifetime.

To House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) this honorable retiree who, like me, gave 22 years of his life in service to our nation doesn’t matter. As Ryan said “these are retirees who are still of working age.” And so for 6 billion pieces of silver, Ryan, like Judas Iscariot, has betrayed those who have been willing to give the last full measure of devotion to this nation and broke the promise this nation made to them. But as always, it ain’t sitting pretty with some retired top enlisted men.

Kime says more than 840,000 working-age retirees will see a 1-percentage-point cut to their annual retirement pay increases starting in 2016.

Think about that one number: 840,000. Our congress and President Obama are breaking their promise to 840,000 men and women, telling them they are the cause of fiscal irresponsibility in Washington DC.

There are close to 350,000,000 Americans and 840,000 have to be sacrificed to support the legislative budgetary process? That’s two-tenths of a percent. All over $6 billion? You mean to tell me that lawmakers in Washington DC — Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray specifically — could not find $6 billion dollars elsewhere? Hmm, will one of them explain to retired Chief Chip Hoynes and his wife that a Member of Congress only needs to serve 5 years to earn 70 percent retirement, for life (since it goes to the spouse upon death of the Member)?

Or perhaps explain it to recently retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy who said,

“You don’t join the military to get rich. There are a lot of sacrifices. There are PCS moves. There are bullets flying overhead. We’re still fighting a war, and now we are talking about reducing the COLA? I don’t get it.”

Well, I get it considering the number of millionaires in Congress, not to mention the President, who have never served and signed this insidious budget into law.

If President Obama wants to talk about fairness and income inequality perhaps he should listen to retired Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley. “I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan 16 times … and was fighting in the streets of Saigon when I was 18 years old. When you have people like myself who have dedicated our lives to the military and then they want to start cutting on benefits, it’s sort of unfair,” Tilley said.

None of the flag officers who spoke in favor of the cuts would be affected by the reductions. The three four-stars will earn, combined, more than $560,800 in retirement pay in 2014.

Tonight, if the Commander-in-Chief wants to earn back a small modicum of respect from the US military, he will address this issue and state that he and Congress were wrong and will immediately rectify the situation. As well, I admonish every military retiree, veteran, and currently serving member of our Armed Forces to find out if your Congressional Representative — mine did, by the way– or Senator voted for this cut. If so, look for them tonight and ensure they will not be sitting there much longer.

123 COMMENTS

  1. Someone is surprised that the Government made a promise to these people it is breaking? Really? Been happening since there was a Government. It’s just gotten a bit more commonplace in the past few years.

  2. Col. Allen, there are times when it is good that we have to watch how we speak in public forums because being a Navy Veteran, I could sure think of some very colorful words to address these officers right now. Hope to meet you in ’16 sir.

    David Parkins,
    Mooresville, NC
    http://www.WelcomeVets.com

    • After being retired for 20 years now, I have gotten to the point where I don’t pull very many words and the tact I learned to speak with in the military takes a backseat to the trash on the Potomac. A part of the problem today is all the fluff in speech now. We mustn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. We mustn’t be “attack”. Horse Hockey Radar. I know just as many nice words as they and know when to use them; I just elect not to anymore because it tends to hide the feelings behind those words. They aren’t gong to know if I’m pissed off or not if I sugarcoat my words.

  3. Great article Mr. West. I was a Enlisted Review Board casualty. I know what it feels like to be stabbed in the back by our government.

  4. Congress and the White House mainly only see the officers, very senior officers, in their daily or weekly life. They do not see the enlisted personnel regularly, so when they make these decisions, they have the mental image of some 4 star, making buttloads of money, living it up in DC. When I was on the USS George Washington, I was put in charge of giving a tour to members of Congress who flew out. I was supposed to give them the “VIP” tour through the nice sections of the ship (mainly officer territory). Instead I took them to the regular enlisted berthing, small, cramped, 200 person berthing with racks stacked 3 tall. 12-15 inches of space between you and the rack above and below you. Then I took them to grungy, grimy section of the ship where the junior enlisted worked. Needless to say, I was in a little trouble. But, as I explained to my CO, when those Congressmen are in DC deciding our budget, I wanted them to envision those junior sailors living conditions. Not some glorified officer stateroom.

    • Good for you Leslee and you are exactly right. Those folks who think of themselves as royalty now on the east side of the Potomac, have no idea how military personnel live, especially the lower enlisted. And a lot of junior officers, O-1s & 2s aren’t doing a lot better in some cases. And junior warrants. The military is now the new “let’s pare all the meat and fat off this bone” place to go and try to save money. When the military vote was being disenfranchised at the last election, I told my family the folks in the military were about to start taking it in the shorts because very few of those elected gave a damn anymore.

  5. This is bait and switch. This should not effect anyone who enlisted prior to this bill going into effect.

    Guys like Paul Ryan and Obama haven’t got a clue what it’s like to give first aid to your buddies with shrapnel wounds and lose them. I suppose those college keggers resulted in a tough wake up the following day, and the drive into work was tough especially considering the coffee was cold.

    Where is the VFW AND American Legion??? Why is there so much silence?

  6. I could find that money EASILY!
    Cut the State Dept (“white collar welfare’) by 70%.
    END *ALL* “foreign aid” (and watch K Street go balistic! ($100 Billion there.)
    END Education, Energy and EPA. (Who knows how many billion$ there?

  7. Simply because entitled people like those who support these budget cuts have never been out for anything but themselves. Can you imagine the feeling you would have knowing guys like this are watching your back.

  8. These military officers want to protect their high level, high paying positions and will go along with what ever this president wants them to do. If they disagreed, like General McCrystal did, they will find themselves being fired. They want to advance further up the ladder in the administration and be appointed to top spots in his administration. I will even go further and say that certain Secretary’s of Defense do not support the best interest of the service members and sit by as our military is gutted and do not speak up in their defense. They all want to protect their jobs and that means kissing up to the president and agreeing with everything he does that does not serve the best interest of the service members, the retirees, and them military as a whole.

  9. This money could be found simply for curtailing our “foreign aid.” When one is not able to pay their own bills, one stops spending on non-essential items. When our Nation’s ability to take care of her veterans decreases, then the non-essential spending such as foreign aid must stop. JMHO

  10. Retirees, military or civilian, should not have to worry about retirement funding. That money should be protected. Persons responsible for compromising such funding should be subject to felony level punishment–period.

    Isn’t a contract a contract? When people contract to serve our military, they do not have the option to go AWOL without the threat of prison. Why would those responsible for meeting contract retirement funding not find the same threat of prison?

    Not meeting retirement commitments, as well as other financial irregularities being imposed on our active duty (i.e. the Marine who go billed tens of thousands for the hotel that the USMC put him in) sound more like tactics to minimize our military. These actions seem more like ways to disenfranchise people from ever wanting to serve. Who would have such motivations, except the enemies of the U.S. of America?

    • Ask the Native Americans about a contract with this gov.

      As for protecting the money, think Social Security. Gone.

      Think I.R.S. “we will only be taxed 1% to help pay for the war (1) and it’s only temporary”.

      Benghazi !

      As to the enemies, he’s giving a speech tonight, and lives in our house.

  11. I bet they all get “randomly” selected for an IRS audit! The fact that I just made a joke out of the administrations abuse of it’s citizens by a powerful government agency, is abhorrent!

  12. I guess that I am lucky that I opted for Postal Retirement. I would be screwed if I retired Military. I get full disability also. I make more money.

  13. Retired company grade officers and retired enlisted personnel get about half the retired pay of a colonel. Generals get far more. So, only listening to generals about retirement compensation will likely give you a distorted view.

    To those you say that military pay should be like civilian pay, I usually say, “Then you taxpayers owe me about a several hundred thousand dollars in overtime!”

    I remember one time in a staff meeting my commander said that “Everyone is going on 12 hour shifts to get ready for the IG Inspection!” There were some groans in the room. I just smiled and went back to my sergeants and announced. “I have great news. When the commander said everyone is going to work 12 hour shifts, he meant everyone, so we get to cut back to 12 hours per day!

  14. When Rep. Ryan said ” these retirees are of working age” he forgot one thing, that is, the retired military members also have a spouse who never worked at a job long enough to be vested in a retirement due to numerous PCS move. I can say there are other areas to get that 6 billions – freeze congressional benefits, reduce congressional retirement to equal E9 retirement at 20 years or how about cutting welfare to illegal aliens???

  15. What a total disgrace. What we owe to these veterans are the very ground under our feet. They should be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Obama and Co are destroying our moral and armed services. The incentive to serve our country is not the great benefits and working conditions, it is love of country.

  16. These officers make ruffly 7k to 10K a month in retirement. They could careless about 1 percentage point. They want to cut the budget on the enlisted people so that they don’t get the spotlight shown on them.. SCUM

  17. The 5 years of Service and 70% as a pension has other requirements tagged on to the Congress. You have to be of a certain age to Retire or it will be a deferred pension. The wife does not get the full pension upon their death, just like any other Federal Employee. The spouse is entitled to a Survivors Benefit Program, similar to the Military.
    The FERS and CSRS are also Offset by Social Security. Believe it or not, They do pay Social Security and have since 1984. Not taking up for the Congress, but Vague Statements should be avoided. They are misleading.

  18. Another great article that reminds me why I am “screaming at the top of my lungs” that I want Allen West in MY/OUR house, in DC, in 2016. This is the type of leadership this Country needs. A man who is not afraid to speak up and lead and get things done.

  19. Well there is 840,000 votes (more with spouses) that should vote against the democrats or any republican that supported this bill.

      • You really think someone votes in a Nancy Pelosi ? Elections are now and have been for some time bought and paid for. You didn’t think obama won two terms with votes did ya…..can you say “NO voter I.D. !!

  20. Looks like most of Congress is still of “working age” to me. Since they’re not out there risking their necks for our country and profiting on it instead, I hope they choke on their stupid pork.

  21. Between this and the fall of Falujah I tell any young person I meet to not join the military until there are radical changes within this country. It is no longer worth defending. BTW, I’m a 20 year army vet.

    • The country is not the current administration and this country will always be worth fighting for…Thanks for your service.

  22. This is why we need more veterans in Washington. I, myself never served but it really aggravates me, that we are screwing the veterans. Especially we have allocated approximately the same amount to the illegal aliens. It’s time to vote the incumbents out. Our Congressmen and president don’t deserve one penny when they leave office. They should be going back to their real job. None of them deserve a pension!!

    • Would be VERY interesting if we voted in new people (vets) and they repealed the current congresses retirement package. What goes around….comes around !!

  23. Those so call officers are now worried about their pay because as field grade their retirement are 5 to 10 higher than enlisted men!!!!

  24. This is why my grandson changed his mind and will not join, and my son, a Marine who has 20 years in but was going for 30, has decided to get out when back from his latest deployment.

  25. Any RepubliCANT that supports this should be Primaried at the earliest opportunity. We have more than enough traitors on the Left, we shouldn’t stand for them on the Right.

  26. I did this Colonel West. I emailed my Congressman Ed Whitfield a fellow veteran I assumed would not vote for this. He wrote back and in fact did vote for the reduction and went on to explain economic development (bridge building) had priority. I’ve since learned Mr. Whitfield was indeed a Army Lieutenant during the Vietnam War……..but never deployed, hm, He also was a Democrat until a few years ago, but switched to Republican when the tide began to turn against DNC. I got the feeling I had written to the wrong person, should’ve written to a Democrat, maybe the excuses would’ve been more plausible, or less infuriating than those of a Republican turncoat. I wrote Mr. Whitfield a reply to his explanation with the theme “maybe we all need to tighten our financial belts, including members of Congress taking a pay cut. etc.” I never received a second correspondence from Mr. Whitfield. I wonder why.

    • Sickening. Something has to change and quickly. Look how clueless this government is. They force the ACA on us which will cost us future doctors (and a whole lot of other feces) and now they are screwing with those who represent our first line of defense. I’m trying not to believe that being a brainless crack addict is a prerequisite to gain congressional or Potus consideration. What’s worse is that these clueless individuals were voted in by majority. (and/or fraudulent voting tactics)

  27. I certainly agree that suddenly pulling the rug on active duty guys and retirees and vets is dirty pool. I do think that some changes are merited in Military compensation, but it should be applied to new members and existing members grandfathered with that they signed up for.

  28. Let me get this right, Hoyne’s had a high paying job, now umployeed and living off military retirment benifits. Even though he is of working age, he still can’t find a job. He knew his pay was going to be cut short and he never prepared for it. With all do respect sir, call up Walmart or Burger King.
    If Mr. West was still in the military he could do something, but he can’t
    if he was in congress, he would do something, but he still can’t

  29. I know and served with both Jack Tilley and Carlton Kent. They are honorable men. It is sad that our civilian leadership is not.

  30. All of these so called Leaders Should have to pay back all of the money that they were paid from the point that they retired from the military up to the point they reached 62 years of age I will guarantee that they would not agree with this action. the only reason that they are so eager to accept this is because it does not effect them they are all 62 years or older now. Pay back could be a B**ch. Miko Neale Hawaii US Navy Retired.

  31. I personally have served nearly 15 years and I’m currently being medically separated. I’ve damaged my back to the point to where there isn’t a surgery that will be able to help me run again and I will continue to lose feeling throughout my leg. The best I can look for is the random loss of feeling and use of my right leg due to the nerves being crushed which is what I am dealing with now.

    It is sad to see how those in charge of us do not see the results of their “Monday Night Sofa Quarterback” decisions.

    1. There was a loophole that showed over 11 BILLION of tax revenue was going towards illegal immigrants and it was brought up but voted against by those in the Democrat party that would of eliminated this 6 Billion dollar cut. This has proven that it was unnecessary to do this but this isn’t the only thing that was done.

    2. Starting June 2014, some men and women serving overseas will lose their hostile fire and hazardous duty pay. Some people say “Big Deal” but TWO of those places are areas that we have lost aircraft. Now it wasn’t by hostile fire but due to a mixture of mechanical failure and fatigue. This would still make those places a hazardous place to work so reinstatement of the hazardous duty pay would make since. Now one of those 2 places has had terrorist testing the security responses by throwing out fake bombs, (small devices wrapped with duct tape and a cell phone attached), to see how we would react. These are ALWAYS precursors to a terrorist attack. So why are they being ignored as well?

    3. The Air Force Fitness test changes. As some people know the Air Force has a PT test that has been called a “Force Shaping” tool. Poor medical evaluations of people’s health have resulted in multiple injuries, permanent disabilities, and death in many “Healthy” troops. We recently had a PT leader in his 20s drop dead of a heart attack right after his PT test. A man who usually scored in the top 90% who was known for being the picture perfect fit airmen had concerns about his heart and told that there was no defects found in his heart. This along with the testing of exercises that the ARMY deemed “dangerous to personnel” due to their damage on the human body is still going on but has been used as a tool to remove people from the military who are “unfit” to serve yet when it comes to deploying and their military career have had no negative reports outside fitness test. People are being punished for having a waist over 36 inches and if they are over 39 are being instantly failed. Now the 39 inch waist thing has been semi-remedied this past year but it has not gone far enough.

    • And a person in your same condition without health care has to go without surgery bec they can’t afford it. At least you have access to a doc and specialist as well as hospital care. And how do they work if they are under pain 24/7?

  32. Obama doesn’t like or trust the military. His support for this is not surprising. Rep. Ryan is the one who disappoints in this exchange. Perhaps it’s better that he’s not the Vice President right now. And for 6 billion dollars? The Federal Government drops more than that in the couch cushions, it’s a minor clerical error for them. Hell, they flat out lose more money than that every year. Pitiful.

    Paul

  33. We only pay for things with our own lives! Not with government contractor kickbacks. This is why our benefits and pension is being cut!!

    • 100% agree. COLA in Hawaii just went up for an E-5 nearly $500. Yet the housing prices haven’t changed that drastically and most enlisted live on base in Hawaii. So….who benefits the most from this? The contractors do, of course. Apparently someone is diddling the govt’s privates. KWIM?

  34. After retirement, Jones was the Cheif Executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. He earned a salary and bonus of $900,000 from the US Chamber, as well as director fees of $330,000 from the Boeing Company and $290,000 from the Chevron Corporation.

    Punaro was the Executive Vice President of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and well as numerous board seats.

    Wald Was the Director of Deloitte Services, LP and the Vice President of International Programs for L-3 Communications Corporation.

    Johnson founded Snow Ridge Associates, a consulting firm with no web site, sits on the Energy Security Leadership Council and gets $188,534 a year from CACI, International.

  35. As a former enlisted Marine and later a commissioned officer I learned that you take care of the troops before you taker care of yourself. Then if there isn’t enough to go around at least the troops are taken care of.

  36. Unfortunately, many higher ranking officers have had very poor role models over the last 13 years in their CoC. Now, we have a SecDef that has probably drank too much of the ‘D.C. kool-aid’. He is going with flow instead of being a candid Sr. Enlisted Advisor telling our toxic leaders in D.C. and the Pentagon what is really best for the all of our troops in service to this country. Do want to send a real message to those who serve the people but have NEVER REALLY served this country? 2014 and 2016, vote out every incumbent and do NOT vote for an ASS or a PACHYDERM that is on your ballot. This will send a real message across the bow to the lobbyists, corporate money mongers, self-serving elitists and career politicians that THE PEOPLE are what makes this country great…Back then, Today and in our Future!!
    I must post as a guest until my retirement after 30 years in military is completed some time this year. 🙂

    • Please don’t shoot me, read with open mind until the end.
      I am a retired Marine, retired Federal Employee and receiving Social Security (I’m 65 now). Whenever the government “screws-up” managing/overseeing govt programs, (ex: postal service, Social Security, AMTRAC, welfare, giving taxpayer dollars to remodel MOSQUES in SWA, TSP for Fed Employees/active duty personnel, etc), they have ONLY one group of people to recoup “pissed” away funds: those of us that work for the government, or receive Social Security. We are the only group that the “government” can reach out and touch our pensions, disability payments, SS, etc. When is the last time you saw an average American civilian (one not receiving govt benefits) EVER have his or her salary reduced or amount of a raise lessened to help with the deficient in spending created by the government?. QUESTION: aren’t THEY taxpaying Americans like US? Give them a chance to “help” their country like we did, AMEN? Fact: I remember when I first joined the military is was promised; 20 of faithful and honorable service, my family and I would have free health insurance and dental care for life. How many of you “OLD TIMERS” remember that? PROBLEM with all of this is just ONE thing: as American VOTERS, we do NOT have the balls to vote all 535 corrupt politicians OUT of office. Well, we need the consistency of veteran politicians to run the government. BS….If that is true, what experience does the president have to run this country and the military (present approval rate is 33%) and look at what condition we are in!

  37. Nothing new here. My son is in the process of buying a house for his new wife and the child that is on the way. While deployed to the ME he sent his money home and we banked it for him. For several years he withdrew some for living and wedding expenses but still managed to hang onto 30K. Now in the third month of mortgage processing with Chase bank, they apparently do not believe that is where he got the money! They keep demanding more and more paperwork two weeks before closing! I assume none of those turkeys behind the desk at the bank ever served a day, none probably know anyone who did and despite their eagerness to process a GI loan, have no concept of what its is about. They apparently;y do not understand that in Iraq and Kuwait outside of smoking and betting on camel spider races there are not a hell of a lot of places to spend the money. Sort of like my buddies who served in Vietnam and came home with a years pay in their pockets.

    “Oh it’s Tommy this and Tommy that and shove him out the brute but he’s the savior of his country when the guns begin to shoot”-Kipling

      • Like I said to Mike up above, a little late now. the bride “knew someone” at Chase. Unfortunately they only got her in the door.

    • You should advise your son to seek out a different bank immediately. I had a mortgage with Chase that went south quick. Chase refused to adhere to the Soldiers and Sailors act while I was deployed causing a class action lawsuit. The upside was I got a check in the mail from the settlement, but I had to refinance with another bank.

      • A little late now. Closing is scheduled in two weeks and they have already paid fees up the kazoo. Funny Chase was good to me but that was before all the recent nonsense and defaults by the people who put nothing down.

  38. Todays officer corps are not leaders but mere followers and rumpswabs. Their main concern is not the troops but themselves, looking only for self gratification and instant promotion. The “officers” of today put the ring knockers to shame.

  39. You know I went in 76 and got riffed out in 93 with a kick in the ass. Nothing surprises me from Washington or as my friend Dave Hackworth said “the perfume princes”. So everyone suck it up and move on and make due with what you get. Improvise, adapt and Overcome. Because they don’t give a rats rear end about you.
    And when you can help a Vet who is les fortunate then you. Because we leave no man behind.

    • You are absolutely correct. I retired from the Navy in 1994 as a Senior Chief, I have no living family and have been out of work since 2009. I live in the Philippines (have no where else to go in the USA) and recently had a stroke, with the luck of a full recovery. I have applied for roles in southeast Asia with American “Veteran Friendly” companies and have had no luck or feedback. No gives a rat’s rear end is an understatement.

  40. From the Senator’s website: ” I am happy to be of service to members of the uniformed services, military retirees, and their family members who are experiencing difficulties with the U.S. Department of Defense and/or its military branches …” Based on this quote what are we to believe? Are the Officers included in this proposal or do we once again place the burden on the enlisted people.It is so amazing how they, i.e. the Congress can be SO PRO military, and offer more applauds for the SGT 1st class (sorry, NAVY here, not intent to offend) than the CIC, yet be two faced enough to say they want to withhold COLA. Why not withhold their own COLA until they reach age 62. And BTW. . . . those that (in Congress) have not serve one day in uniform. . .let give them the opportunity and experience to spend a year in that long standing war in Afghanistan or on an extended deployment from THEIR family. Then, just then, they may have a better understanding of what we truly do.
    I am sorry but this administration, . the EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE branches have no clue when it comes to the military. And there is no sense in writing for help because they don’t address the issue personally. . . and the response you get back is exactly what you have known already. (Based on a ltr I sent for a VA dispute.) We need to support our military orgs, i.e MOAA, VFW, AL etc.in the letter writing campaigns. And one last thought.for the retired divorced AND all retired personnel . when are we ever going to repeal/amend the USFSPA for divorced service ? GET ACTIVE AND START WRITING THE PEOPLE YOU PUT IN OFFICE.
    BTW notice how the top brass is for this. . . . and I worked my way up to CWO2 and believe in what is fair. The Congress wants to take from the rich. . .let’s start with Congress and the O-6 and above!
    Sorry for being so being so long winded but this truly cr** and really boils my blood!
    To all my Service Brothers, Thanks and I applaud your brotherhood and service.

  41. Marine General James Jones is a filthy, spineless coward. He was a poor excuse for a Marine officer, miserable failure as Commandant, and his pathetic sucking up to obama didn’t really get him too far.

  42. These senior officers who supported Obama in this decision are a disgrace to their uniform. I can’t believe of all the places to cut this is what Obama chose! How anti-American can you get?

    • Absolutely shameful. It’s unbelievable that the military even be considered let alone among the first cuts made. If people had a clue they would understand that the governments primary responsibility was to ensure our country was safe and funding the military was a top priority. I have to believe if President Washington were alive today ….a well formed militia would have already been a given and these treasonous fools would have had a special date with karma.

      • I agree! Our Founding Fathers were aware of what it was like to live under a tyrannical government, they recognized it, and were willing to fight and die for it. Sadly, there are too many today that don’t recognize the red flags of a tyranny in the making. Those that signed the Constitution agreed to a separation of powers with checks and balances and today we have a President threatening to use a pen and phone to destroy what our forefathers fought and died for, and it could very well cost us our freedom.

  43. “There’s
    a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more
    necessary and is much less prevalent. One
    of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained
    great is loyalty to their subordinates.” A quote attributed to General George S. Patton Jr. (of “Let George do it” fame, if memory serves).
    That speaks to all in the military, and to the Generals and Admirals who supported this little budget cut, they will certainly Not be remembered at Great to their subordinates who hear about their agreement.
    After my father served his 20 in the army I later joined the Navy during Vietnam. I got out after six (with 4 years aboard nuclear submarines) partly because of the promises already broken to my parents about how well the Army would take care of Them. I was honored to have served, especially in submarines. But I knew anytime Congress was in session, any Promised retirement benefits, could rather quickly disappear.

  44. I’m currently serving in the U.S Army i’ve only been in for 8 yrs but I see myself wanting to get out more and more. Its seems to me that everytime I turn around something is being cut from the military. It hurts me to see our vetrans struggle to stay afloat in this declining economy. Instead of taking from the military the one who have sacraficed and are currently sacraficing congress should try taking from thier own pockets for once. I mean they will make more in thier few terms in office then half have made for their entire career..

  45. {Run of the mill career politicians need not apply.}
    True Leaders Needed

    As a child I heard a great men speak;
    of serving others, rather than ourselves.
    My young heart was moved with aspirations;
    his murder put my dreams upon a shelf.

    Another stood tall on the podium,
    he taught love and the brotherhood of man.
    I longed to go join in the marches, then
    they shot the man who wrote from Birmingham.

    Another sought to rise up and lead us,
    and he shared the ideals of his brother.
    From the darkness, a lone sniper shot him.
    So most lost hope there would be another.

    Look upon the shameless way of many.
    Deception seems their only stratagem.
    Children seeking leaders, don’t find any.
    Where are the giants to inspire them?

    I weep for the future generations.
    Those who search for a reason to believe.
    Where’s the honored ones to lead this nation?
    From this current shameful state bring reprieve.

    Listen all who aim to serve in office.
    Check hearts as only you and God can do.
    America needs those willing to serve her.
    The children of the land are watching you.

    c.d.m. 1/27/14

  46. Real Leadership is based on integrity and leading from the front. If these GO’s endorse paycuts, should have started with themselves first. But, alas those “leaders” chose to behave like their civilian colleagues in the executive suites; when the going gets tough, throw the little guy under the bus to save your own sorry a$$. I got mine, eff-u. Disgusting.

  47. Thank you for this Allen West, unfortunately the Republicants and Democraps do not care either way. There are no real parties anymore only greedy, rich, lying, and power hungry bastards that will continue to work together to get what they want off the blood, sweat, and tears of the little man. Of course, the military is the first little man they shoot for because we are the most accessible.

  48. I’m sorry to disagree, but a 1% cut in an INCREASE is not taking anything away from anyone. Sounds just like the argument about budget cuts that are not really cuts, but a lowering of an increase. I agree that those with a disability from active duty should not be denied an increase, but the able bodied….no. What other job retires folks so early? Shouldn’t police officers get the same benefits? One does not serve their country to get as much as they can, otherwise we will only have a core of mercenaries.

    • Police have a better pension than Servicemembers… And able bodied Servicemembers should be able to work, WHERE ARE THE JOBS? Oh yeah, Congress is stalled

      • Judy. You have to clue so please stand aside and stand by while the military defends “your” freedom of speech…

    • Judy before you compare the military to “another job” I suggest you put on a pair of boots and make a visit to Iraq, Afghanistan or any other part of the world where our troops are and worry if they will make it home alive. Police do sacrafice alot as well, and their benefits should reflect the same. But to ask what other job retires folks early is completely wrong especially if you have never burdened the responsibility of freedom!

    • Judy, COLA is designed to help pensioners to keep pace with inflation. mine was to be 1.5%, then subtract the 1%= .5 percent COLA minus inflation of about 2+% and my COLA is now -1.5% HOW IS THAT AN INCREASE? must be liberal math. you’re a moron.

    • When our warriors retire, be it military, police or firefighters, etc., they have mostly been injured, gone without sleep, extended time away from family and quite a few have stress illness such as ptsd. So these proud warriors need to work because it mostly is good for them. However cutting benefits, that are minimum to start with, is an insult. Cost of living increase is an increase to be able to afford the same food, clothing and shelter as our dollars decrease in value because the fed is pumping more currency into circulation and inflating costs.

    • Sounds like someone who never served there Judy. How about the Presidents demand during his SOTU speech about the need to extend unemployment benefits even more? How many of the unemployed are veterans who are still putting money into the pot that funds this program from the taxes being taken out of our retirement checks? You think of retierement after 20+ years is early? You have no idea of the wear and tear you endure when working for an outfit where 12 to 30 hour workiong days are not uncommon while living in field conditions or in a hole you dug in the ground? As for cops and firefightewrs, they’re covered by contracts they sign and if promises are broken by their municipalities they can be sued, most also get to go home to their families each nightr and sleep in their own beds, I dare you to try and sue the US governmenrt when they break promises, such as this one. It was never in my contracts that I would take decreases like these, why would most of us stay in with this knowledge in front of us. Normally when the military gets hosed they do it to the ones still serving and those of us who retired are grandfathered. With Democrats and RINOS runniong the show all bets are off.

    • Judy here is an answer to your question about “what other job retires
      folks early?” It concerns the a Member of Congress that earns 70 pct
      after 5 years for life” mentioned in the article. Must have missed that
      in a hurry to reply. It took me 20 years – Grenada, Beirut, First Gulf
      War and recalled for the second to get my measley 51% and not counting
      the other Ops and so forth that I and many of my brethren have gone
      through away from our families. and yes maybe policeman should get the
      same benefits.

    • I put my life on the line and nearly paid the price during operation Just Cause and many of these people risked much more for longer. I did not stay in to collect a retirement but these people did. They deserve every penny they get in retirement. They are worth it.

    • Wow, where did you serve? Let me answer! You did not serve! So until you given a measure of the best years of your life, I suggest you remain silent. All we are asking is what we were told to expect upon retirement! Nothing more!

    • Let me guess, you haven’t served this country at all?? Let the politicians take a cut! They have got increases in pay even when the recession hit. You must be a politicians wife or an aid! The military member deserves more & better respect from people like you! They do have my respect!! They obviously do a thankless job according to you!!

    • I’m amazed that you speak from a position of such ignorance. At least before you lips flap or your fingers type, get some actual factual information about which you are saying. Otherwise, just stay quiet and let people think you are an intelligent human being.

    • They don’t CHOOSE to retire at 20 years, they are FORCED to retire at 20 years. My husband would have stayed in the military until the day he died but they made him retire. In his rank, you cannot stay longer than 20 years. So tell me that you would work a job for 20 years that did not have a retirement plan. But after 20 years they made you leave with no job. This same job shortened your life span because of the hours you were forced to work. And the job was not a job that translated to any other company. BTW, no other military force in the world MAKES their member retire after 20 years.
      Besides that, my husband was promised that he would receive 1/2 of his pay with yearly COLAs when he retired. Just in case, he died before me, he accepted less pay so I could receive 1/2 of his 1/2. He died at the age of 54. I am dependent on my little $700 a month. He died thinking that everything would be ok but since he passed away, they have taken away part of the COLA and my health insurance. I am forced into Tricare, in which I went to the doctor one time and had to pay $150 out of my pocket vs the $12 co-pay I used to pay. Now the doctor wants to run more tests on me, but I can’t afford them so I will not get them. The Federal government would not even approve the Tricare Insurance under Obamacare but we are forced to be on it.
      I am sorry that my husband gave 20 years of his life to protect you and your family since you are ungrateful. In addition, I know a lot about you because I now know that you are not a person who keeps their word. You see when you think it is ok for the government to break their promise, that means you don’t believe that promises are important. Which btw, makes you a liar.

    • What other job retires folks so early? How about what other job is so hazardous that the deaths per capita are the highest of any profession on the planet!

      Are you aware that while Congress is literally taking money out of the pockets of the very people who were willing to die for YOUR freedom, they’re allowing people that entered this country illegally to RETAIN their benefits, untouched?

      You have no idea what the men and women in uniform sacrifice for this nation. At the very least, they should retain the benefits they agreed to before they wrote that blank check against their very lives.

  49. I asked Congressman Cassidy this same question of why he supported this bill he first asked if I was disabled and I said yes, and he said well you wont be affected anyway. I then said that regardless it is not fair to cut one segment of retirees and not the other and his response was that he knows a retiree that makes $90,000 in his retirement and also has a job that pays $300,000 a year. Clearly this person was not an enlisted person as after 22.5 years and making it to the highest enlisted rank my retirement is about $36K a year. Congress also cut Tricare for retirees who live more than 50 miles from a base. When I told him what my retirement was he said “oh you must have been enlisted” and of course I said I was. I told him a cut in retirement pay would be ok if the pay while on active duty was better. I have to disagree with Judy Kempen and her post as yes most jobs dont allow you to retire at 20 years, but the toll that 20 years of service takes on a persons body is far more than an “Average job”. We sign a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including our life and this is how Congress treats us? Makes me sick to my stomach. When will we start cutting the pensions of Congress and Senators who just serve 1 term and get a pension for life? Seems they never want to mention that. Keep up the Great work LTC West!

  50. Once again my comment is awaiting moderation….if you want some actual feelings then the word a$$hole is not a bad thing…..there is no doubt about what I felt when I posted it…..

  51. I’m not understanding the math….They cut 1% until the vet reaches 62 and then collect that 1% back. So the vet you named received $1,600 a month and now it’s going to be reducted by $16.00 (1%), which is $1,584. If he is 50 now and start receiving the cut until he is 62 that means over the lifetime he will lose $3,072, not $55,000 over his lifetime. Are there some other numbers your missing so I could understand? As a vet myself I know there should be no cuts to anything because we served this country but I just need all the facts before I can say hey, the government or our president is not doing anything for us. I’m not saying it is acceptable at all for the cut but you have to put out better fact so I can truly understand what I’m fighting about.

    • Well, it’s not a cut to the current pay, it’s a reduction in increases. So instead of a 3% raise next year, you’ll only get 2%. I think they did some compounding math. i.e. (1600 * 1.03)12 = $19,700 per year vs (1600 * 1.02)12 = $19,584 per year. Only a difference of $192 the first year. The second year would look like (1648 * 1.03)12 = $20,369 vs (1632 * 1.02)12 = $19,975. A difference of $393 the second year. So far that’s a loss of $585 (393 + 192). After 12 years of (Previous year’s rate * 1.03)12 = $$$$$$ vs (Previous year’s rate * 1.02)12 = $$$$$$ there’s a loss of $17999.21 (All the losses added together over the 12 years.) If one retired at 40, it shows loss of almost $70,000. Again, that’s all based on 3% vs 2%. So, if the percentages are larger so will the losses.

      • also note how that effects the pay going forward after 62. Because the increases are based on previous yrs salary as a base for this years calculation, the amount of base at 62 will be much lower than if they had not taken the 1% out all those years. Yes the 2% gets changed back to 3%(example) going forward from 62, but the missing baseline is not added back in at 62, it is gone forever. So from 62 til end of life, this amount keeps compounding its net effect.

    • Henry, Not sure where the numbers come from, but, the cut is to the COLA. So, if the planned COLA is, say, 3.5% due to the inflation rate then the true COLA would end up being 2.5% and so on. we haven’t gotten a 3.5% COLA in,,,I can’t remember when. But you see the process. Numbers are always inflated by the people who bitch so it sounds a hell of a lot more drastic than it really is. But I will say this. The Vets who are on fixed and can’t work due to injuries, illness, or whatever reason, normally are budgeted for their income and can’t really afford any reduction. I think the true point is, if you need to make up a short-fall of that small a size, then why must it be made up on the backs of people who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice? Haven’t they given enough?

    • You’re only doing the math up to his 62nd birthdate. That age is just when the reduction stop but he doesn’t recoup the lost money and when you factor in the effects of compounding over not only the 12 years from 50-62 but also ages 62-80 or 90 (depending on how long he may live)…the loss of earned money increases by larger factors.

  52. You pretty much gave the answer when you mentioned that it was only “two-tenths of a percent” That is an acceptable number to Ryan. That small percentage won’t affect his job seeing even a smaller pecentage of them are in his congressional voting district.

  53. I understand that the house excluded Ryan in the reduction of retired benefits and allowed him to receive full retirement pay. How about that for cronyism.

  54. Such a cut could not in any way make a significant impact on out national budget. Like what they are doing to seniors, this administration is simply expressing its disdain and contempt for people we once held in honor.

  55. The military retirees are those in the 38-62 age range, i.e., those that kept the faith in the post-Vietnam years, served in the last two decades of the Cold War, fought in Grenada and Lebanon, served in the first Gulf War, the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Iraq war, and a thousand places in between. These are men and women that served on the Korean DMZ and at the Fulda Gap and drew a line in the sand at the Kuwaiti-Saudi border. These are the sailors and Marines that policed the world, and the soldiers and airmen that stood guard over our country. The servicemen and women affected by this are the generation of retirees that spent more time deployed and in combat than any other generation in American history. This is not hyperbole, and what is being perpetrated on these veterans (myself included) is simply wrong.

  56. When I was at my 15 year mark in the Air Force I was offered the REDUX retirement plan for $30,000. With the REDUX retirement you would receive 1% less on your COLA until the age of 62. Well I did not take the REDUX. All congress has to do is pass a bill like this and force me into the REDUX system. If this bill goes through then I want that $30,000 plus interest.

  57. Rep Ryan had been a hero to me when he stood up to Obama on his addresses to congress and the media, but now he is using Obama’s doctrine, Wealth Redistribution. As a retired Navy Chief my Navy pay retainer has nothing to do with any other job that I might have (which I don’t, do to illness). While I was active duty the hardships me and my family endured by the separations of deployment, even separations moored to a pier because I couldn’t go home because of ship’s readiness, the many in harm’s way and other perils, the low pay and scarcity of repair funding every time we had a democrat in the white house. While it won’t affect me because of my age, it’s imperative that my fellow retired military members be spared of this abuse, we were treated like cannon fodder, no more, please stop.

  58. There has to be a lawsuit in here somewhere. I specifically opted out of receiving the Career Status Bonus and redux so that I could retire at 50% with full cola yet now they are reducing my cola anyway. If that is not a broken promise, I don’t know what is.

  59. I am the “Chief Chip Hoynes” in this article –

    I was interviewed by Ms. Kime of Military Times at the request of Master Chief
    Vince Patton, a personal friend of mine. I also know MCPON Joe Campa and
    MCPOCG Skip Bowen. They are all Top Shelf men of integrity in my book, as well
    as the other E-10’s listed above.

    First, I am honored that Congressman West made me the face of this travesty
    committed by Paul Ryan and his ilk in the Republican Party.

    Second, to the post “He knew his pay was going to be cut short and he
    never prepared for it. With all do respect sir, call up Walmart or Burger
    King…” -maybe you should check with me first before spouting your mouth. You know nothing of our situation, my preparation on retirement, or whether or not I even applied at “Walmart or Burger King” – which I HAVE over and over. Why would they hire an over qualified senior enlisted Chief Petty Officer to stock shelves, when
    they can get others perfectly happy with a min-wage job and keep it.
    I’d be looking over my shoulder for a job I AM MORE QUALIFIED TO DO, and I’d
    bail as soon as I found it. That’s not fair to them, or me.

    You also know nothing of my disability status, or of injuries I sustained on
    Search and Rescue cases in the Bering Sea’s 20-30 foot seas… I’ve had major
    heart surgery, so thanks to my very active 22 years in the Coast
    Guard I’m not really fit anymore to push a lawn mower in a landscaping crew.

    No, I’ve been retired since 2007, had a great job and a
    very nice savings. Had investments, real estate. Company is gone now, then went
    the savings, investments tanked thanks to the stock market collapse, and real
    estate lost to short sales and foreclosures due to inability to find renters…
    So please do NOT LECTURE ME about ‘preparing’ for retirement.

    All I ever wanted was to serve my country. I did, and now I can’t even get a
    job interview for the last three plus years. I don’t know if its discrimination
    against Enlisted Retirees, lack of college (although I’m working on it), my age
    (over 50), or the fact that I’m now long term unemployed.

    All I can say is thank the Lord for my Pension, until THIS came up. If they can
    cut all cola ADJUSTMENTS (they are NOT pay raises), then other parts of my
    Pension are on the table. WHERE WILL THEY STOP? In ten years, could I LOSE my entire military pension? My medical? All because some of you think Military Retirees
    are some kind of self-entitled crybabies? Really????
    /r
    Chip Hoynes
    CPO, USCG (ret)

  60. I also want to add that my family is 100 percent military; Wife was Active Duty Navy (I married her to keep her from outranking me, didn’t work), two daughters also Active Duty Navy (one still in), and son currently in the Army. I have nothing but the utmost respect for them, Congressman West, and all the other Vets who’ve posted here. Thank you to all the ones who came before us and made this nation great!

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