Letters to the Editor

‘Stop loss’ abuses those who serve

To the editor:

I think that it is about time that we as Americans who have served and/or who have children in the military speak out as to the way the military thinks that they own a soldier indefinitely. Do not take my words wrong.

I think that everyone should serve, BUT the soldier should not be taken advantage of. I served and was sent to Iraq with my National Guard unit. I was medevaced out of southern Iraq and sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. My son has been in the Army for eight years and has served with great honor as a sergeant. He is on his third deployment because of George W. Bush. He was deployed from Fort Bragg this past January with the 82nd Airborne Division.

The military has a program called “stop loss”; they made this rule so they could keep soldiers beyond their ETS date (date to leave military service). My son’s contract with the military was for six years and he was supposed to ETS in 2005 with two years of inactive reserve.

He was sent to Iraq in late 2004 and was told then his MOS (military occupational specialty) was included in the stop loss. At that point that he decided to re-up and finish his eight-year obligation, assuming that he would be done with the Army.

He did so and this changed his ETS to March 3, 2008.

He was told that by certain individuals in his command that he would not be deployed again after Iraq. Now he is in Afghanistan, and due to ETS in March 2008, and he is already being told again that they are planning to stop-loss him again when they return home, only to be deployed to again.

How can the military keep extending soldiers after their full contract is up?

We also need to beware of the Universal National Service Act of 2007 (H.R. 393) introduced into the House. This act authorizes the induction of persons 18-42 into the uniformed services. I have not seen this in the media.

The military preaches how they are all about family, yet in my son’s case his deployment has caused stress and divorce, which has had an affect on his children as well. My son requested through the proper chain of command at Fort Bragg for a compassionate assignment, but was denied and deployed. This deployment is causing continue stress.

I sent a letter to his home state of Maine Senator Collins’ office in my son’s behalf. Seems as though no one wants to listen. Trying to get anyone in the government to listen is like trying to pull needles from a porcupine. I even had an individual at the senator’s office ask me on the phone if my son was worried about repercussion from having a senator look into any issues on his behalf. What’s up with that?

Daniel A Bacon Jr.
Center Conway

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