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National Guard and Reserve personnel currently make up over a quarter of the American forces deployed in Iraq to date and that percentage will increase next year. The Guard and Reserve system is being stretched to its limit. America’s citizen soldiers, many of whom have been away from their families for months, are sacrificing a great deal for our country. Yet recent reports raise serious concerns about their treatment. America is asking critical questions about the treatment of Guard and Reserve forces in Iraq.

Orlando, Fla. – Orlando Sentinel
Military Scandal
, November 19, 2003, link unavailable

“The Army owes better medical treatment to its citizen soldiers…

“Until just recently, most of the injured and ill Guard and Reserve troops at Fort Stewart were housed in concrete barracks without air conditioning or indoor plumbing…

“The Pentagon is depending more and more on its citizen-soldiers. They need to be able to depend on the Pentagon to take care of their medical needs properly and promptly.”

Wilmington, N.c= – The Wilmington Star News
Wounded Veterans Deserve Better, November 13, 2003

“Wounded veterans returning from combat risk being dropped off the stretcher by a medical system that fumbles the hand-off between the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs…

“In recent months, complaints about injured National Guard and reserve troops waiting months for care at Fort Stewart in Georgia drew complaints from members of Congress…

“The nation honored veterans on Tuesday. It would honor current and future veterans even more if it made the commitment to treat the wounded decently when they return home.”

Denver, Colo. – The Denver Post
No Accounting for Late Checks
, November 17, 2003

“American forces overseas have lots of worries. Whether or not they’re going to get paid should not be one of them…

“Far too many men and women in the U.S. National Guard aren’t being paid on time, or are being underpaid, overpaid and erroneously billed for loans, according to a General Accounting Office report…

“Changes must be made, especially if we’re going to continue calling on these weekend warriors for full-time military action.”

Peoria, Ill. – The Journal Star
First-Class Soldiers Deserve First-Class Protection
, November 12, 2003

“So the whistle blowers were right. A Peoria-based Illinois National Guard unit got second-class equipment to protect itself in Iraq…

“Accounts differ as to why six of the 14 helicopters belonging to the 106th Aviation Battalion flew all summer without the basic missile defense systems considered standard in Regular Army choppers, or the more advanced systems that represent the new standard…

“If the Army intends the Guard members and reservists being called to duty to be treated like first-class soldiers, then it owes them first-class protection.”

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City Star
Take Care of Troops’ Health, November 10, 2003, link unavailable

“(Kit) Bond, a Republican, and (Ike) Skelton, a Democrat, acted on reports that several hundred National Guard and Army Reserve troops – some recuperating from combat wounds – were quartered in cement barracks with poor plumbing or outside toilets…

“The fact that lawmakers felt the need to take action raises troubling questions about the Pentagon’s ability to monitor the quality of its health-care system…

“Congress should not have to pressure the Pentagon to make sure those who wear the uniform receive decent health care, regardless of whether they’re serving in the Guard and Reserve.”

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