WASHINGTON — Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jim Lokovic doesn’t think it’s fair that young officers get the same shipping allowances as senior enlisted personnel who receive permanent change of station orders.

“Here we have someone with kids in high school, and they get the same weight allowances as a brand new O-1,” he said.

“I put up with that in my career. You don’t buy nice furniture, or you give it away, because there’s a huge service penalty when you move. This is an equity and fairness issue.”

Congress is considering legislation which could help fix that, by increasing the household goods shipping allowances for E-7s, E-8s and E-9s by thousands of pounds.

The measure, H.R. 1406, introduced earlier this month in the House by Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, would bring those senior NCOs in line with O-6s and higher commissioned personnel. Currently, the 12,500-pound maximum for an E-7 with dependents is the same that an O-1 gets.

Jacob Parker, legislative assistant for Latham, said the goal is to make the household goods allowances correlate with troops’ years of service, recognizing the needs of career enlisted personnel.

Three years ago, Congress upped the maximum shipping weight for E-1s through E-4s from 5,000 pounds to 8,000 pounds. This proposal would increase senior NCOs restrictions by at least 2,500 pounds and as much as 6,000 pounds, depending on rank and family size.

Latham introduced the bill at the urging of the Military Coalition, 35 service support groups that includes the Air Force Sergeants Association, where Lokovic is deputy executive director.

He said the coalition is now looking for a Senate sponsor.

“This is really a military family issue,” he said.

Coalition officials could not estimate how much the increased weight maximums would cost the Defense Department.

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