Letter to the Editor: Military service an honor above all

In observing my belief that everyone is entitled to their opinion I ignore many remarks on the Delaware Sate News Opinion page. Whereas Mr. George Roof’s comments often amuse me there has never been occasion to prompt an actual belly laugh before his “Democrats have different meaning for compromise” piece in the Nov. 28 edition.

I can only imagine that his notion that the illegal immigrant “invasion” was a “stunt financed by the likes of Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg” came out of some rag he subscribes to. But yes let’s investigate that silliness, waste some money and come up with even less than Mueller has seemed to at least currently, shall we?

Mr. Roof is well within his rights to be misinformed but misleading other people as he did in the same epistle regarding our military’s pay and service member’s sacrifices is just wrong. I have intimate knowledge of these matters so I know malarkey when I hear it. I am tired of the complaint that our military earns a pittance considering they are on call 24/7. I have known many civilians who experience the same hardship for less than what the military member may well be raking in.

Consider that although the military members’ base pay is embarrassingly low they don’t readily advertise what they bring in through their COLAs, reenlistment bonuses, hazardous duty pay and quarters supplements (some of which is non-taxable the last I heard). Granted our military is sometimes called on to offer up the ultimate sacrifice but missing a birthday or holiday is not in the same league as losing your life. Gee, I once missed a family member’s burial because my employer’s funding came through and I had to designate its use immediately. I wasn’t a GI then and I wasn’t on the clock either.

My husband and I often volunteered to work holidays when we were in uniform because our families were at a distance from us then and most of our co-workers had children. We often rearranged our schedules to accommodate our peers. I don’t know what branch of the service Mr. Roof served in but that was the way things were done in the Air Force back in my day.

While serving it was my observation that most of the career members I knew were serving until retirement age (few were dedicated enough to go beyond that) because their educational background and experience couldn’t translate to civilian jobs.

Additionally few entry-level positions on the economy would offer them what they were earning while serving in the military and most did not offer retirement benefits most especially at somewhat tender ages. Indeed, it was a tremendous challenge for my husband and me to make that transition when we were honorably discharged at the end of our enlistments because the civilian world was not exactly welcoming towards Vietnam-era veterans back in the day.

The only military members I ever knew who truly suffered financially were those who had a lot of children, a non-working spouse or credit difficulties resulting from their own indulgence. I understand that will not be a popular remark but that was my observation over 30 years of studying that segment of the population.

I thank Mr. Roof and anyone with military experience for their service but I never considered my own a sacrifice — it was an honor.

Carol Hotte

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