Friday, March 13, 2009

Michelle Obama pledges to help military families

The Cincinnati Enquirer had the following story on their website:

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The nation owes not only gratitude but tangible assistance to the nation's military and their families, and she'll make that a focus of her time in the White House, first lady Michelle Obama says.
Underscoring her commitment to the plight of America's military families, Mrs. Obama used a trip to Fort Bragg as a stage for her first television interviews since the inauguration. One with ABC's "Good Morning America" was to air Friday.

In the interview she said she wanted military families to know they have a friend in the White House.

"It hurts. It hurts," Mrs. Obama said of hearing about military families on food stamps. "These are people who are willing to send their loved ones off to, perhaps, give their lives -- the ultimate sacrifice. But yet, they're living back at home on food stamps. It's not right, and it's not where we should be as a nation."

I'm glad to see the situation many military families face to get some attention. There are many family support programs out there to be sure, however it still offends me whenever I read about or meet a military family that have to use food stamps. If you consider the hours of training demanded of the military member and to maintain a constant state of readiness, with the likelihood of losing your life, then the rate at which enlisted members are compensated is low. Special forces troops are required to maintain fitness levels commensurate to elite athletes as well as their military skills yet they too are compensated at a ridiculously low rate. Compare the salaries of an E-6 (pay grade) in the SEALS, SF, Para-rescue or Force recon to what their civilian counterparts make in Blackwater or Dyn Corp.

I applaud the First Lady's attention on military families and hope that she is able to bring some needed attention to the problems facing the families of our service members.

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