October 24, 2004

Military Treatment

Wounded Reservists and Guard troops have to stay on base to get care if they were injured in a deployment, which means that many of them are still not with their families:

...Under a web of Army rules, Sergeant Elliott and thousands of other part-timers injured on duty are navigating a system suited to full-time soldiers. Most are required to stay on a military base to get government medical treatment, to collect their active-duty salaries and to finish military evaluations that will decide whether they return to duty or leave with severance or disability payments.

Full-time soldiers recuperating with Sergeant Elliott have to wait, too, but they have lives here - their spouses and children, their churches and their jobs. Long before Iraq, they lived on the base or just down the road.

...Many of the injured say they have grown embittered from being away from home so long. Some see the extended separations as one more indication that military leaders consider the needs of part-time soldiers - once taunted as weekend warriors - as less important than those of the full-time troops. ...

Much more of this and if we do have any major disasters, natural or otherwise, in the US in the coming years, there might not be much in the way of Guard and Reserve to call up to handle it. Riots, flooding, fire, an attack, anything could happen. Are we drying up the well of people willing to volunteer to be ready to help out in case something bad happens here at home?

Also, an article on the number of troops over 50 years old who are being deployed. They're providing valuable, level-headed expertise to ground operations in Iraq, but it seems to me that it's another sign that we're stretching things too thin.

Posted by natasha at October 24, 2004 01:45 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |