Panel OKs 1.9 percent pay hike

By Tom Philpott: Military Update A House panel has voted to give the military a 1.9 percent pay raise next January. That would be a half percentage point higher than what the Obama administration wanted simply to match private sector wage growth. The House armed services subcommittee on military personnel panel also endorsed increases next […]

Experts: Military pay gap no longer exists

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Every witness before a Senate subcommittee hearing last week on military compensation — all experts on service pay and benefits — called directly or indirectly for Congress to end its 12-year run of voting for annual military pay raises that exceed wage growth in the private sector. No witness suggested […]

Military feature: Support from the skies

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By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer Rupert Gamble of Portales was a pilot in the Air Force during World War II. He was commissioned to the Air Force Cadets Program and trained to fly C-47 aircraft troop and cargo carriers over Europe. Gamble is the father of Eastern New Mexico University President Steven Gamble, who […]

Study finds military children surprisingly resilient

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Casey Tencick, a fifth-grade teacher at Patriot Elementary School on Fort Carson, Colo., read here about a RAND study assessing how military children are stressed by their parents’ frequent wartime deployments. Tencick thought her students would find the content of the column interesting and might like to react themselves to […]

Cutting doctor’s fees cause for concern

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Lawmakers took steps this past week to put military people at ease over how TRICARE benefits will be protected and, for older children, how coverage likely will be expanded as the Obama administration implements the new national health care reform law. But Congress continued to take only clumsy temporary steps […]

Health reform protects military benefits

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Republican lawmakers raised the specter of military families and survivors of veterans seeing health care costs rise as a result of the national health reform law that President Obama signed March 23. But the threat was never more than a notion and it is fading away. That’s the consensus among […]

Friday morning briefing: For the local military

Good morning and welcome to Freedom New Mexico’s Friday briefing. Video of the day: It’s in your backyard. For the military The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce is hosting an orientation for military families. It starts 11 a.m. Saturday at the Memorial Building, 200 E. 7th St. Speakers will tell you about recreational opportunities at […]

Military increasing awareness of benefits

milupdate@aol.com Despite billions of additional dollars pumped into veterans’ benefits in recent years, many military personnel still leave service unaware of their VA benefits or of programs set up to help them transition to civilian life, a senior Defense official and veteran advocates testified Wednesday. Noel C. Koch, deputy under secretary of defense for wounded […]

Possible troop extension cause for concern

Freedom New Mexico It might be nothing significant. Of necessity the military is always making contingency plans, often to deal with circumstances nobody seriously expects but for which the military wants to be prepared if the unlikely happens. Most of those plans stay on the shelf. Nonetheless, the announcement by Army Gen. Ray Odierno, our […]

Home delivery of pharmacy benefits saves money

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Military retirees and families will save themselves some cash — and save TRICARE a whole lot of money — by using their “home delivery” pharmacy benefit instead of filling prescriptions at TRICARE retail outlets. Pharmacy officials are doing whatever they can to drive that message home to 7.5 million users […]

Pay raises, fee increases proposed

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist The Obama administration proposes to spend three percent more next year on support programs for war-strained military families. But officials are urging Congress to stop adding extra dollars to the military pay raise every January and find a way to raise TRICARE fees for the first time in 15 years. […]

U.S. policies on military gays outdated

Freedom New Mexico It will be argued — it has been argued — that allowing homosexual people to serve openly in the military would inevitably undermine morale and unit cohesion. The essence of the argument, as expressed recently by military historian and Vietnam veteran Mackubin Owens, is that military success requires tight nonsexual bonding, and […]

PTSD disability ratings increased

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist More than 4300 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were diagnosed in service as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but got low military disability ratings, have won an agreement with the Department of Defense to upgrade those ratings retroactively to 50 percent. The higher rating will represent an important win […]

BAH rates adjusted for rental markets

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) paid to nearly a million service members living off base in stateside areas will increase an average of 2.5 percent in January to keep up with rising rental costs. But in 158 military housing areas — 43 percent of the total nationwide — current BAH […]

Press Release: Senate approves key NM military funding

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall reported that the Senate has approved legislation to fund key construction projects at New Mexico’s military installations.

Fort Hood massacre betrayal of trust

By Anita Tedaldi: PNT columnist The Fort Hood massacre is shaking the military community and Americans everywhere. Nothing seems more horrific, if it’s even possible to quantify these events on some horrible scale, than a soldier firing upon his comrades. As a military wife I can’t begin to imagine the pain, suffering and fear the […]

Congress extends benefits to military spouses

The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Congress on Monday sent President Barack Obama a bill that allows military spouses to claim residency in the same state as their wives or husbands. Under current law, service members can choose to keep their original residency as they relocate. Spouses who lobbied for the change said having that same […]

Many resources available to military families

By Anita Tedaldi: PNT columnist There are many organizations which use their time and resources to help military families. Each one of them has a slightly different focus but they all serve a very important purpose: they link military families to resources and to the help they need. During deployments, life for those back home […]

Poor economy boosting recruitment

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Middle-class American youth are entering the military in significant numbers today, drawn by more competitive pay, a battered civilian job market and the buzz surrounding an improved GI Bill education benefit. The Department of Defense announced earlier this month that for the first time since the draft ended and the […]

ENMU designated as ‘military friendly’

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer In services for military members, their spouses and veterans, Eastern New Mexico University is among the top 15 percent of post-secondary schools in the nation, according to the magazine G.I. Jobs. The magazine has given ENMU the “Military Friendly School” designation. “At Eastern New Mexico University, we very much […]