AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS AND THE SENATE
Open Letter to All Members Of Congress
The Purple Heart to Purple Shaft Award :
Has Congress forsaken the American warriors who won both the hot and cold wars for the feminist movement and the national budget?
You be the judge.
1. Military members who served 20 or more years in the military service were in fact, promised free medical care for them and their spouse for life. Now at age 65, when the military members health care needs are the greatest, they are literally thrown out of the Department of Defense (DOD) medical care system----the only Federal personnel to lose their employer provided (DOD)health care benefit at age 65.
2. The military member has the only occupation in the United States who's retirement income is offset by the amount of service connected disability pay they receive. In other words, the military member pays for their own service connected disability from their military retired / retainer pay. Why the discrimination?
3. Military members who served their country for 20 and / or more years can in fact, be thrown into financial bankruptcy under the Former Spouse Protection Act (P.L.97-252). Many military service members have lost 50% of their military retired / retainer pay as a property right. Often this retired / retainer pay is awarded to an unfaithful spouse, for life, buy no fault state courts.
Congress passed the Former Spouse Protection Act in order to overrule the United States Supreme Court Mc Carty decision, which clearly stated ; The military retirement system confers no entitlement to retirement pay upon the retired members spouse, and does not embody even a limited community property concept.
State no fault courts do not take adulterous acts, military commitments and / or military hardships into consideration upon a divorce.
State courts only seem to be concerned that the civilian spouse be awarded half of the so called military pension, regardless as to the fault of the divorce. Many military members have had to face spouses who have committed adultery. Other spouses have been unable to endure military hardships brought about by military orders.
In some cases, the spouse became upset with the low military pay and poor military housing accommodations. While other spouses complain about the reduced medical benefits, long lines at the commissaries and decided enough was enough. What's wrong with state courts awarding justifiable alimony based on financial need, and the dividing of real property assets?
Military retired / retainer pay is not a deferred income, not a pension, nor is it a property right to the military member. So the question yet to be answered by Congress is, how can military retired / retainer pay be a property right to a former spouse, when it's not a property right to the military member?
The price of freedom is not free. Just ask any military member who has served their country by wearing the military uniform and combat boots for 20 or more years, while enduring an unfaithful and / or adulterous spouse. It's time a new ribbon (The Purple Shaft Award) be made available at the BX, for those who served both their marriage and country honorably .
Lewis E. Pugh Jr. CMSgt ( Ret )U.S.A.F
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