Isn’t it interesting how the monthly living quarters allowance and cost-of-living adjustment seem to drop within days/weeks of the dollar gaining ground on the euro but when the dollar falls it takes months to recover?

Case in point, on Feb. 3 the exchange rate was 0.6995 — the day my huge euro rent check was due. At Feb. 3 exchange rates, my LQA entitlement covered about 85 percent of my monthly fixed expenses of rent, electricity, trash and water. Only $400 came out of my pocket. I’m OK with that.

In June the exchange rate went in our favor and the exchange rate was 0.7979 on my rent date. My LQA dropped considerably but, ironically, it still covered about 90 percent of my fixed expenses. So I was happy to be relatively even between LQA and expenses. Again only about $300 to $400 came out of my pocket.

Today the exchange rate has dropped to February levels (0.7097) but my LQA hasn’t caught up. In fact, my LQA is stuck around June levels. Today I receive roughly $800 less in LQA and COLA than in February, yet my fixed living expenses of rent and utilities stay the same. In fact, my rent check with the Oct. 2 exchange rate was only $50 less than my February rent, yet my LQA is more than $400 less than February — meaning $800 out of pocket and still sitting around June levels, when the dollar was much better.

I understand that as the dollar rises and the euro falls, LQA falls also. Shouldn’t it be true then that when the dollar falls and the euro gains, that LQA rises also? I do not understand why it takes months to catch up. Who’s making out on this creative financing for which we pay the price?

Master Sgt. Rick Bumgardner (retired)

Heidelberg, Germany

No excuse to deny GI a meal

I am upset and appalled after reading the Oct. 7 letter “Chow hall rule too strict.” It is ridiculous to think that this is happening to our servicemembers around the world.

The same scenario happened a few years ago at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where war-torn servicemembers were denied proper medical care and the facilities were inadequate. Well, the fallout from that disaster was drastic action taken by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in firing top leaders who allowed this place to fall in disarray. The same should go for Victory Base Complex, Iraq. [If the letter writer’s claims are proven, t]he general or colonel in charge should be fired for his lack of leadership for denying a soldier basic needs.

No American servicemember should be denied health care or food. I hope the letter writer’s members of Congress or Gates himself read this letter, cleaned house and set an example that servicemembers — no matter where in the world they are serving — should be treated fairly and respectfully.

The letter writer is in a war zone where it is hot and muggy; maybe he poured a bottle of water on him to cool himself off from the long walk to the chow hall. It seems like sweat, but they turned him away and denied him food. Put leaders in charge who are competent and fair, not set ridiculous rules to deny one basic needs.

Petty Officer 1st Class Wayne C. Scott (retired)

Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

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