Regarding Tom Philpott’s Feb. 19 Military Update column “A few surprises in budget for military retirees”: This raises a few questions.
I (as well as others) will be looking to retire within the next couple of years. The articles I have read about what the politicians are doing or trying to do to the retirement policies is very alarming.
Soldiers, no matter whether they are regular, full-time soldiers or reservists or National Guardsmen like me, work extremely hard for what little retirement we do have.
Reservists and National Guard members don’t even qualify for pensions until they hit age 60. I am a National Guardsman with more than 19 years of service to this great nation. I am on my third deployment, two of which have been in combat zones. For me, if I retire after serving 20 years, I will qualify for a check of around $550 per month after age 60.
If Washington continues to cut into our retirements, what would be the benefit of serving for 20 years? In a time of great economic despair, Washington wants to cut costs and fix the budget. Why not start with the politicians themselves? If everyone took a week off without pay, it would be a great help to the nation.
It’s aggravating to have Washington haggling about giving soldiers a 1 percent pay increase while shrinking our retirement.
If we cannot fix our own financial problems, how can we continue to help others?
Sgt. Scott E. Horton
Camp Buehring, Kuwait
Prosecutors must be thorough
Regarding the Feb. 18 article “Captain removed for his handling of doctor’s sex assault case”: Capt. Rex Guinn, commander of the Navy Region Legal Service Office Japan, was removed by Naval Legal Service commander Rear Adm. Nanette DeRenzi at Yokosuka Naval Base due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command” after Guinn’s handling of the case against a lieutenant commander physician who had been charged with sexually assaulting at least 23 female patients — the gist being that Guinn failed to adequately resource, supervise and oversee the case.
Guinn’s real crime was that he failed to ensure his military prosecutors followed guidelines set down by the Victim and Witness Assistance Program (VWAP). The simple solution is to create a checklist that meets the VWAP requirements and mandate that prosecutors complete the checklist. This would force them to document their contacting the victim at each major stage of the case to update them and seek their input, both of which will be documented to the file and relayed to the convening authority.
Military judges should be required as part of the approval of any deal (pretrial agreement) to confirm that these steps have been taken.
I hope this is something that the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps is considering doing, if it has not already done so.
Cmdr. Wayne L. Johnson (retired)