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If the government shuts down, all members of Congress should voluntarily refuse their own paychecks if those of us in the military do not get paid. Furthermore, if we do not get paid, they should give their paychecks to Army Emergency Relief and to our sister service relief funds as well. I am disgusted that the officials we elect to represent us would let their servicemembers all over the world serve without receiving pay while they safely receive theirs.

I apologize if I seem a little unprofessional, but I believe that if this is to happen it would be an outrage. There are a lot of soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors and their families who would suffer.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kushner

Victory Base Complex, Iraq

Stopping pay a lack of respect

After I read the April 8 article “Troops bracing for effects of shutdown” I am not surprised when there is no mention of any servicemember receiving a grant.

Representatives from each branch of service say they have systems set up in preparation for the shutdown and that they are willing to offer no-interest loans. In the nine years I have been in the Army, I have yet to meet any soldier who has received an Army Emergency Relief (AER) grant.

When I was a private first class my grandfather died and I had to get help with paying for a plane ticket to his funeral. My finances were not straight because I was not receiving basic allowance for housing (BAH) or cost-of-living allowance (COLA) for my dependants. I was hoping to receive a grant, since the Army was not paying me what I should have been making, but instead I was only offered a loan. It took the threat of writing my state senator to get my pay corrected and the battalion commander going to finance.

There are so many soldiers who live paycheck to paycheck and if they do not receive their pay what is the country telling us? Senators and representatives, you should be disgusted with yourselves. We are in combat zones, we are defending the freedoms of the United States, we are away from our families and loved ones, we work more than 12 hours a day. How can you turn your backs on what we do, what we volunteered to do? You can bail out the auto industry, the banks, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac but you have nothing in place to ensure that deployed servicemembers will get paid?

Staff Sgt. Matt Cardiel

Camp Liberty, Iraq

No excuse not to deploy

Regarding the April 7 article “Germany denies soldier asylum”: Say it, the word is coward. I saw it as I and more than 2 million servicemembers went to Vietnam over the years, while others who should’ve instead went to Canada and Europe.

I have seen many soldiers over here in Iraq who feel the war is not proper; however, they came, they performed. There is no reason André L. Shepherd cannot do the same. He has no business even being in the military with these fine soldiers here now.

Richard Martin

Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq

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