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Can the troops make phone calls without paying out-of-pocket?

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indigo Donating Member (164 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 06:56 PM
Original message
Can the troops make phone calls without paying out-of-pocket?
Yesterday on Salon, there was an article about some vets (classified as 'outpatient' but still on site) getting charged for lunch at Walter Reed.

I was at the post office today and purchased some phone cards for the troops. On my way home I wondered -- don't they get to use military phones to call home (and not pay, of course!) Kind of like what you see on MASH, lol, if that makes sense.

I am hoping that phone cards for troops is to get them phone time above and beyond what they are alloted. Please don't tell me these people don't get phone calls home. What is military policy?
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sweetbutterfly Donating Member (85 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. It depends
on where they're stationed, but generally no. In some places they get 2 free 15 minute phone calls a week..."morale calls".
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Democrat 4 Ever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. Not only do they have to pay for their phone calls they have to
pay for their meals while they are in the hospital since they aren't available for duty! Story in the hometown paper a couple of months back that a local guy severely injured in Iraq was being billed $5.00 a day for food served him while at Walter Reed. The bill was up to something like $800.00 and the Army was withholding his paycheck until it was paid. The guy gets his legs blown off and they hit him with a bill for lousy hospital food. I think the paper was attempting to try to get our local repug to talk to the Pentagon and get it taken care of, never heard the outcome.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. I have very mixed feelings about buying phone cards for the troops.
I think it's so wrong to pad the profits of the telecom companies by appealing to people's sympathies for the troops in Iraq.

I'd rather spend my money trying to build up a movement to require that the government uses its baragaining power to buy cheap minutes for the troops to call home which they provide for free to the troops.
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indigo Donating Member (164 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I have the same issues with it
There are some web sites out there that specifically provide 'buy phone cards for troops' and all involved, particularly telecom are taking advantage.

But phone cards is one of the most asked for items on anysoldier.com, and while I'm sure they would appreciate any effort to push the government to do the right thing, I'm guessing they'd like phone cards NOW. But I do agree with you. I kind of felt that I was getting fleeced by telecom, taken advantage of by Bush's policies, and most of all, disgusted that the troops have to ask to get the resources (from someone, anyone) to call home.
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Career Prole Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Would have been nice of 'em to drop an inaugural ball or three
to pony up for some phone time, but like Pickles says, inaugural excess is a lovely patriotic tradition. :puke:
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