Trump plans halt to National Guard deployments before retirement benefits kick in

Commentary

“Thank you for your service???”

National Guard members deployed in coronavirus relief

UPDATE: Not long after I posted this story, Politico broke the following news:

“Under pressure, Trump administration weighs extending National Guard deployments”

A plan to keep 40,000 troops on coronavirus duty through July awaits the president’s approval.

A few key things about this breaking news: “Weighs extending” is not “extending.” Awaits the president’s approval” is not the same as “the president approved.” If this position reversal actually occurs, I wonder if it will result in doubling down on something else moronic to balance things out. Just saying.

The Hill reported today:

The more than 40,000 National Guard members deployed to states to help in coronavirus relief may end up one day short of qualifying for federal benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill once President Trump’s executive order deploying them expires on June 24.

An official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in an interagency call on May 12 reported on by Politico that the guardsmen will face a “hard stop” on June 24 to prevent them from reaching the 90 days of duty credit needed to qualify for early retirement and education benefits.

Deployed in late March, on June 24 most will hit 89 days of duty credit.

The guardsmen have helped states with medical tasks and conducting elections.

The FEMA official noted the removal of the guardsmen while some states are still shorthanded would require delicate “unified messaging.”

OK, let me get this straight – the National Guard was called up to assist in coronavirus pandemic relief aid in late March. If this deployment lasts 90 days, these guardsmen will qualify for a duty credit that can be applied to early retirement and educational benefits. But the Trump administration is ordering a “hard stop” on their deployment on June 24th, 89 days after their deployment day – and one day short of the time they need to accrue their benefits.

Of course there are two issues here. First is the question of fairness to our men and women in uniform. You can’t get more cynical, and you can’t get more transparently cruel, to our servicemen and women when you cut their deployment ONE DAY SHORT OF THE DAY THEIR BENEFITS KICK IN!

I wonder if somewhere in that “unified messaging” FEMA is working on if there will be the words, “Thank you for your service?”

Honestly, did you expect more from an administration led by a so-called “Commander-in-Chief” who dodged the draft by getting a quack doctor to say he had “bone spurs?”

The second, and perhaps more serious issue from a public health standpoint, is by not extending the Guard’s deployment, will pulling them out early help contribute to a possible second wave of infection?

Oh, right. We needn’t worry about that in our rush to end restrictions and get the country opened up. Trump has an election to win and how would it look with 40,000 National Guardsmen roaming the streets helping sick people?

I mean, get real, people!

Last thought: There is a second, less obvious, non-financial, but just as cynical, reason to end the Guard deployment. As The Hill reported:

The guardsmen have helped states with medical tasks and conducting elections.

Help in “conducting elections?” Why would Trump would want help in conducting elections…unless the help was to suppress Democratic votes? Which I’m guessing is beyond the Guard’s scope of responsibilities. At least I hope it is.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy.

5 thoughts on “Trump plans halt to National Guard deployments before retirement benefits kick in

    1. Checks and balances, separation of powers you say? Gone. Only way out now is win at the polls. A win that will be contingent on how successful those (GOP) Senators, Representatives and Governors are at suppressing the vote…with the latest outrage, vilifying mail in voting. (Something I’ve been doing for 25 years, BTW)

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  1. As I keep on saying to Dave – it can’t get any worse — and yet it does!!! What a cruel, heartless human being (and I use the term “human being” loosely).

    Stay well. xoxo Sue

    >

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