Their View: Davis' soldier equality act could solve this problem
Somehow it didn't seem fair to Sgt. Carlos Farler. As a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard he was being asked to report for active duty in Iraq. That was OK. He had signed on and knew there was always a chance he would be required to do more than the one weekend a month and two weeks of summer duty normally performed by members of the Guard and Reserve.
But the unfair part came after Farler was injured during his service in Iraq. Although he and his fellow Guard members were in the same danger as regular Army soldiers, they weren't entitled to the same disability retirement pay. Regular Army members receive disability based on time in service; National Guard members' disability is based on time in uniform. For Farler, it meant a 13-year stint would be reduced to four.
While recuperating from his injuries at Walter Reed Army Hospital, Farler had a chance to meet U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, Farler's representative in Congress. During their conversation, Farler brought up the inequity in disability pay to Davis.
Out of that meeting was born the Sgt. Carlos Farler Citizen Soldier Equality Act of 2006, introduced in Congress by Davis, who apparently thought the issue was as unfair as Farler did. Last week, Davis came to Maysville, Ky., to announce the act and to let Farler and other Guard members know their concerns are being addressed.
Language from the act has been incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act. Davis is banking on it making it through Congress and onto the president's desk for the commander in chief's signature.
We join Davis and Farler in encouraging members of both houses of Congress to keep the act in place and to give it approval. We also expect that it is the kind of legislation that would receive a quick OK from President Bush.
If we continue to ask our National Guard to step forward and serve alongside full-time troops, then we should expect to give them equal treatment and protection. Only then will Farler receive the fairness he and others like him deserve.
- The Ledger-Independent, Maysville