WASHINGTON — Military personnel, some bound for Iraq and other war zones, would be protected from salesmen selling overpriced insurance and mutual fund plans under legislation approved by the House on Tuesday.

The legislation, passed 396-2, would ban sales on military installations of a type of mutual fund, often promoted by retired military officers, with commissions that take 50 percent of the investor’s contributions in the first year. The two “no” votes were by Republican Reps. Ron Paul of Texas and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Those plans, called contractual plan mutual funds, all but disappeared from civilian markets in the 1970s and now are sold almost exclusively to military personnel.

They are widely discredited in the financial industry, said Rep. Raum Emanuel, D-Ill., “Why would we allow them to be sold and marketed to our troops?” he asked.

Rep. Max Burns, R-Ga., the legislation’s sponsor, said recruits are being approached during boot camp, and junior enlistees enticed with free meals, by people “using dubious sales practices to collect exorbitant fees.”

Welcome home events

The Armed Forces Network will broadcast Thursday’s welcome home ceremony for the 1st Armored Division and an evening concert on AFN-Atlantic TV and Power Network Radio.

The welcome home festivies will air 3-4 p.m. Central European Time. The concert with country music group Sawyer Brown will air 7-8:30 p.m.

Amphibious exercise

Nearly 350 U.S. sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans are participating in a multinational amphibious exercise in the Adriatic Sea through Oct. 15.

Forces from Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are also taking part. The exercise, which started Sunday, includes an amphibious landing in Croatia, maritime interception operations, surface gunnery exercises, helicopter operations and search-and-rescue drills.

According to a U.S. 6th Fleet news release, this is one of the first occasions for the Adriatic sea nations to work together in preparation for their combined bid for NATO membership.

The Sullivans is based in Mayport, Fla.

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