Tom Philpott has been breaking news for and about military people since 1977. After service in the Coast Guard, and 17 years as a reporter and senior editor with Army Times Publishing Company, Tom launched "Military Update," his syndicated weekly news column, in 1994. "Military Update" features timely news and analysis on issues affecting active duty members, reservists, retirees and their families.
Tom also edits a reader reaction column, "Military Forum." The online "home" for both features is Military.com.
Tom's freelance articles have appeared in numerous magazines including The New Yorker, Reader's Digest and Washingtonian. His critically-acclaimed book, Glory Denied, on the extraordinary ordeal and heroism of Col. Floyd "Jim" Thompson, the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, is available in hardcover and paperback.
Readers of Tom Philpott's Military Update Column Sound Off
While members of the Senate and House continue to kick the [budget] can down the road, those who have sacrificed and suffered pay the price.
This is reprehensible.
Folks on Capitol Hill have nothing to worry about regarding money, healthcare and other compensation. They do not need to shop at the commissary or worry about TRICARE cuts.
This is shameful, illogical and absolutely wrong.
Round two of sequester and what does Congress give up?
The five-week vacation they are on now? Subsidized meals and trips home at government expense? Will lawmakers cut their own pay or do only federal workers have to suffer?
Yes, the rich do get richer and the millionaires' club that most members of Congress belong to refuses to give up anything.
GEORGE D. BOND II
Lieutenant Commander, USCG-Ret.
As a retired soldier (1992-2012), I find these budget cuts to be appalling.
The first cut in government spending should be aimed at “public servants” in Washington. Their benefits and pay should be curtailed, not those of military men and women who sacrifice and risk too much.
What has any congressman or senator ever risked in performance of their duties to deserve the staggering compensation they receive?
That the military is the first entity of government to get cut every time there is a financial crisis dishonors the memory of servicemen and women who have died for this country. It also shows a lack of patriotism, from people in government and across the country.
The more these unfair and unjust cuts to pay and benefits impact protectors of this country, the more I wish I hadn't spent my life in that role and the less I feel they deserve that protection from those still providing it.
People of this country need to wake up and realize the government is killing what made us great. Sadly it is their own fault.
Seems these folks in Congress forget we have a volunteer military. As with any other job, when the risks outweigh the benefits they will leave.
Holding down their compensation, taking away commissaries and raising TRICARE fees will destroy this force, which so far has proven unstoppable. But we can't sustain such weakening.
I gave 29 years of service. I incurred numerous health issues. The VA can't meet my needs because they are so backlogged. My spouse and I need TRICARE.
Members of Congress should cut foreign aid and domestic programs that support laziness. There has to be $52 billion a year to be found going to people who don't give a crap about the United States.
Bring our tax dollars back to our shores and take care of us!
We need a strong voice like yours to tell the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs and the U.S. Congress that they must stop picking on the military to balance the budget. They lie and cheat and harm the young men and women who defense our country.
I served our country for 33 years and I would not advise my grandson or my great grandson to join the military. What they are doing is a disgrace to all who serve or have served our nation.
Bossier City, La.
I am a military spouse who for 15 years has watched silently as I have been ripped away from family members for love of my country.
The few benefits the Army promises are meager in comparison to the constant turmoil, danger and uncertainty of military life.
To have those benefits cut is unacceptable.
As a Navy independent duty corpsman and clinic manager I can confirm the abuse of compensation claims for sleep apnea.
So many people getting ready for retirement were requesting sleep studies that we had to consult many of them out to civilian providers. Of the personnel we consulted out, 100 percent came back positive for sleep apnea. This guaranteed the civilian clinic follow-up appointments and funds for CPAP machines.
I personally know at least four retired Navy personnel receiving a 50 percent disability rating for sleep apnea who have never used their CPAP. The system is broken.
Chief Hospital Corpsman, USN-Ret.
So VA says there is no connection between sleep apnea and conditions of service?
Does anyone remember wars we are fighting in some of the most horrific places in this world? Just breathing the air over there makes you want to throw up. It smells like sewer and I swear I could taste it most days. And some of us who deployed early on were subjected to the burning of trash, feces and God knows what else was in those pits.
I woke up daily in Iraq and spit out black crap. I now have constant sinus and respiratory issues. Just recently I was diagnosed with sleep apnea.
I am still in the Army Reserve and pass my height and weight screening so fat is not why I have this condition. I agree some people try to work the system but that is why they do scientific sleep studies.
We offered our life and too many of us gave it for this country. Now they want to balance the budget by cutting money from the only group that deserves government handouts.
We have earned it, all of us, regardless of what issues we have. If you want to review something look at the welfare system. Most recipients never even tried to earn what they have.
The government needs to stand up for veterans or this great country will soon be in greater shambles than any war torn country out there.
Staff Sergeant, USAR
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