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WASHINGTON — Readers who responded to a Stars and Stripes story on higher pay for stop-loss troops largely favored the move, calling it a chance to give some relief to those servicemembers.

Last week, lawmakers led by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, pushed for plans to pay stop-loss troops an extra $1,500 for each extra month they serve.

More than 12,000 soldiers serving now have been kept in the ranks past their separation date under the policy. Defense officials said more than 120,000 soldiers have been stop-loss since 2001. The bill would be retroactive to 2001, giving cash payouts to any troops affected by the policy. Here’s what readers had to say:

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The bill to pay $1,500 a month to soldiers who have been retained under stop-loss provision is an outstanding idea. I hope that since future soldiers would be paid this amount while deployed, hence receiving the benefit tax-free, that those who are paid the money retroactive to October 2001 would also receive it tax-free.

Staff Sgt. Bobby Tullos

Being stop-loss is not "a backdoor draft" as Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., says. It is a means for the Department of Defense to maintain troop strengths in key areas during times of war. It is part of the military obligation that an enlistee signed on to do, and that the enlistee took an oath to do. Furthermore, it is ridiculous and fiscally irresponsible to award stop-loss individuals with a $1,500 monthly bonus, and even more so to make it retroactive to fiscal 2001. Perhaps stop-loss individuals should receive a special award for extended service, or receive $750 extra per month for extra stop-loss months, or perhaps receive extra months of GI Bill benefits. I agree that the extra duty stop-loss individuals incur can be a hardship. But life is full of hardships, large ones and small ones. That is why it is called life. To whine and complain about having to serve your country, when you signed up to serve your country, is truly disingenuous.

Staff Sgt. David Fancher-Yisrael

I think it’s a great idea, because I’m currently stop-loss now. After 24 years of honorable service, I still can’t retire.

Master Sgt. John Fairley

I think that soldiers who are under stop loss should be considered for the $1,500 a month for the fact that they are being held involuntarily and performing their duties.

Master Sgt. Timothy Cunningham

I have a husband who is currently in the 12th month of a 15-month deployment, the 12th month of which he has been under stop loss. I can’t say this totally makes up for the inconvenience in our lives, but it is at least a step in the right direction showing that they realize it causes many hardships in all those soldiers’ and their families’ lives.

April Richardson

My son spent an extra 499 days in the Army "for the convenience of the government" including a free trip to Iraq for 11 months and 11 days. He got no re-enlistment bonus, no special thanks, and no apology for the added disruption to his plans for the future. So long as there is no disincentive for application of the stop-loss order, commanders will feel free to make use of the stop-loss. This is a disservice to our voluntary military force.

Phil Ishmael


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