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Regarding Charles Lane’s statements (“Time to end Tricare’s bloated-but-untouchable status,” column, March 27) that “[s]ome [military retirees] even claimed that recruiters had offered them free health care for life when they enlisted and that Congress was welshing on this purported contract” and that “[t]he courts correctly rejected this legally, and factually, spurious claim — but it fared better in the political sphere”: Before using words like “purported contract” and “spurious claim,” Lane should research his “news flash” a little more fully.

I have in my possession an Air Force pamphlet for retirees, which was issued to me by a recruiting officer at the time of re-enlistment. It contains this statement: “Retirees and their dependents will receive free lifetime medical care.” This promise was routinely emphasized by recruiting officers, whose job it was to counsel and encourage noncommissioned officers approaching separation to re-enlist and make the Air Force their career.

My Air Force career was from January 1946 to October 1969. In those days at least, I could take a uniformed officer (commissioned or NCO) at his word. There was no “spurious claim.” To all involved, it was a contract, in black and white.

Lane goes on to say, “I respect and honor America’s veterans.” I think not, considering the rhetoric used. And he is just one of many with this preconceived notion about military retirees.

Master Sgt. Carl H. McKenzie (retired)

Kaneohe, Hawaii


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