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I fail to see what is “out of line” with our current military pay system (“Threats of shutdown frustrate military,” article, Sept. 28). Enlisting at the young age of 17, I, like many before me, had no aspirations of becoming a Navy lifer. It just kind of happened. It became a job — a job that rewarded me with camaraderie, rank, leadership skills and a desire to perform at a higher level to achieve more rank. Just as in any business, corporation, etc., employees who attain a higher level know the responsibilities outweigh the privileges.

Are there not any other programs our government can concern itself with? How about our crumbling infrastructure, our economy, the thousands of perennial welfare abusers/recipients, the war on drugs?

Charles Williams

Camp Virginia, Kuwait

Regs mixed my transition help

For 21 years and four months, I did all that was asked of me, made sacrifices so that other would not have to. Sometimes days turned into months and those turned into years, I will be taking medication for the pain until my time on Earth comes to an end. I put my family second but I do have to say this also: My family was provided for, and that’s all that mattered most to me.

I have had the thrill of a lifetime. I cannot begin to put into words what this adventure and journey was like. I have had the chance and opportunity of serving with the best and brightest warriors the world has ever seen.

I have also had the misfortune of having to silently mourn, for the mission must go on. I carry the invisible scars of deployments, but it was what I raised my hand to do. I have learned to come to grips with those things that I cannot change and just continue to live life to the fullest.

Operation Warfighter Initiative is designed to give soldiers who have been wounded serving their country a chance to receive great training and make the transition a little easier. The Defense Intelligence Agency requires that you still be on active duty to take part in the program. Six months is what I was asking for, the first time in my 21 years and four months I was doing the asking. I understand the wording in AR 635-200, which is not the source of my disappointment. “We make exceptions and reword or any other way you can phrase it to get the desired outcome that you are looking for. We get the maximum value out each and every soldier who wears this uniform.” We understand that risk and we rise to the challenge daily.

I know I will never get an answer that makes sense to me but I am wondering, “Why could we have not allowed the additional six months?” I understand the case by case, got it. “We did not do it for other soldiers.” Got it and why not?

Staff Sgt. Antonio Releford (retired)

Schweinfurt, Germany

Stripes in 7

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