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JoFerret Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:03 PM
Original message
With breadwinners overseas, Guard families face struggle

NASHVILLE, It took Jay Johnson seven years to build up his mobile catering business and a year to nearly lose it all. When he enlisted in the Tennessee National Guard, Mr. Johnson thought he might be away from home for six months, a year at most. But as he and other members of the 269th Military Police Company enter their 18th month of deployment, his well-laid plans for keeping the business afloat in absentia, and ensuring his family's financial security, have begun to falter.

Mr. Johnson's business, Johnson & Son Catering, is down to one lunch truck, from three before he left for Iraq, leaving his wife, Candace, and two young children to scrape by with half as much money. Although she has eliminated contributions to the family's college and retirement accounts, and cut all but the most essential spending, Ms. Johnson is still struggling to make ends meet.

"If he doesn't come back soon, we're going to lose it all, and he's going to have to start all over again," said Ms. Johnson, who works full time as an insurance adjustor. "He's proud to serve his country, but the Army doesn't seem to care about him or us."

As the war in Iraq continues, and the Pentagon prolongs the mobilization of tens of thousands of troops, the toll on both the soldiers, and the families they have left behind, is mounting. But while the war has been hard on all military personnel and their loved ones, the financial and emotional impact has been particularly acute for the members of the Guard and the Reserve who have been forced to give up civilian jobs, in a few cases, for 20 months. Among members of the 269th Military Police Company, about 170 men and women from across central Tennessee, the financial hardships are rising as deployments stretch far beyond the traditional six-month mobilization.

"It's been hell," said Brandie Broersma, whose husband, Specialist Will Broersma, is serving in Iraq. Mr. Broersma declared bankruptcy and gave up the couple's mobile home after their income plummeted. "I don't think National Guard families were prepared for such long deployments," Ms. Broersma said.

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MSgt213 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. And if you work for one of the big contractors you get paid for risking
your life.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
2. In only 3 12 years, the Bush administration
has destroyed the Guards and Reserves. The families are treated like shit, and the horror stories abound everywhere. The stories of how the families are treated are not on the news, the news ignores them, they pretend they dont exist. They show Michael Jackson all day or Kobe Bryant.
We are losing our military, its just about destroyed. The kids wont re enlist, there is no reason to. The families are treated like shit, and nothing will ever get better as long as the Bush administration continues to be in charge.
If Bush gets back in again, and he re instates the draft, which he will, expect more stories like this.
and no, the military doesnt give a rats ass. Once they own someone, they say Fuck You to the families.
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JoFerret Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. And the irony will be
Clinton built it up, Bush destroyed it. Of course - the irony is only about perceptions.
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. Did you catch this line?
Although she has eliminated contributions to the family's college and retirement accounts

Who wants to bet somewhere down the line the GOP shills will have the nerve to BLAME this family when they don't have enough put away for college or retirement.

They screw you every which way and then chide you for not taking personal responsibility. This family certainly was trying to do that and look where they are now.

Those who signed up for the National Guard weren't prepared for or expecting these types of overseas deployments. The stress must be overwhelming and then when they finally crack, they are killing themselves or their wives.

My heart goes out to this family and the thousands out there just like them.

Supporting the troops is about MUCH more than sticking a made-in-China flag on your SUV.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. amen to your last sentence
theres some asshole in my town who has 2-3 flags on his fucking car and he drives around chest thumping, he came into the store where I worked (when I had a job) and whined about us selling "French wine"
He gives me the "evil eye" when he sees my car which is loaded with antiwar stickers and Michaels picture on the car.
Tough shit. Hes a chickenhawk of the worst kind. He doesnt have a life, no woman would touch him with a ten foot pole, and hes a mean spirited lonely asshole who sits comfortably on his fat ass while other people's kids die for nothing. No doubt he ejaculates when people die, thats the kind of asshole he is.
Id like to put his sorry ass on the front lines, and fast. Let a few mortar rounds hit right near him, let him hold a friend in his arms and watch them die crying for their mom.
Let him hide in a bunker in the streets of Fallujah or Baghdad and cry whilst he shits his pants. and he would.
I told him "we sell French wine because I drink it everyday! They stock it for me!"
he hates me, good. He hates truth. Tough shit.
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
6. Read this one about a PA MP unit getting another extension
Edited on Sat Apr-24-04 09:28 PM by rmpalmer
and lacking equipment for their new duties of protecting the convoys.

In January, the company was issued 110-day extension orders, and members were told they would be released as soon as possible. Now the company has been held in the Middle East, and soldiers are awaiting 120-day extension orders that have not yet been received, family members said.

The company's duty in Iraq followed a deployment to Bosnia in 2001-02.


The soldiers said they were concerned about their new mission, protecting tractor-trailer convoys from Iraqi insurgents. They also questioned the combat readiness of the unit, which until this point has been training Iraqi police.

"This is not an MP (military police) mission and cannot be found in any MP handbooks or resources. There are no standard operating procedures for such a mission and we have no battle drills that cover shooting from cabs of trucks, dismounting from cabs of trucks, or any other drills that would apply," the soldiers wrote.

"We would be alone on these missions with no communication with other members of our unit and with the MPs providing escort security in armored Humvees," they added.


The soldiers said they have no radios, Global Positioning Satellite devices, night vision goggles, medical supplies or weapon-cleaning kits. The soldiers said some unit members also are without sleeping bags and ammunition pouches.
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Ilsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-24-04 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. Haven't they heard about the relief plans?
The govt is going to let them withdraw from their retirement accounts without penalty, at least for a while. They may have to put it all back in eventually (if they can ever catch up).

What a bullshit group of congresspeople we have. Screw them.
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