Those who serve are remembered

Published 1:27 pm Monday, April 9, 2007

By Staff
During this week of Easter and Passover, our thoughts turn to the many families here in south Alabama and throughout the country that will spend the holiday without their loved ones - sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers - who are serving in harm's way or who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedom.
If these same brave men and women are injured on the battlefield, they deserve the very best medical care. This is the reason why the recent news reports of the living conditions in building 18 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center were so disturbing. Without question, what the men and women were relegated to in this particular building was unconscionable.
To ensure America's injured and wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are never again subjected to this substandard treatment, the House passed the Wounded Warriors Assistance Act, H.R. 1538.
It makes comprehensive improvements to medical care, quality of life, and the administrative processes associated with American troops wounded or injured in combat and other military medical outpatients.
The bill provides for the establishment of a toll-free hot line for reporting deficiencies in medical-related support facilities, a standardized training program and curriculum for Department of Defense Disability Evaluation System, an oversight board for wounded warriors, an annual report to Congress from the Secretary of Defense on military medical facilities, and an increase in physicians at hospitals of the Department of Veterans Affairs, among other provisions.
I believe this legislation is a solid step towards ensuring that our wounded soldiers are provided with the first-class medical care they so rightly deserve when they are wounded in the course of defending our freedom.
It has now been two months since the president submitted to Congress his urgent request for funds to support the troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and instead of working to pass a clean war spending bill, the House majority voted to adjourn until mid-April.
Our generals on the ground have made it clear that there will be dire consequences facing our military unless they receive this funding in the next few weeks.
In a letter to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker and Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Green stated, &#8220Without the approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures which will impact Army readiness and impose hardships on our soldiers and their families.”
The Department of Defense has also notified Congress that in order to meet the force protection needs of the Marine Corps and the Army, they have had to borrow funds from other important Marine and Army procurement programs.
If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit http://bonner.house.gov.
Jo Bonner represents the Brewton area in the U.S. House of Representatives.