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Military reductions violate retirement guarantees for service people, AMVETS director says

November 17, 2011

The Chapman University Military Law Institute and its associated AMVETS Legal Clinic are working extensively – and against the clock — on a case that impacts the entire U.S. Armed Forces, says institute director Kyndra Rotunda, J.D.

Military Law Institute director Kyndra Rotunda

“The Obama Administration has ordered massive reduction in forces, resulting in many officers who are near retirement being involuntarily separated without retirement or medical benefits,” Rotunda said.  “With investigative work, lawyers working in the AMVETS Clinic have discovered legal violations by the Defense Department.”

A Department of Defense Instruction specifies that service members within six years of retirement will ordinarily be retained and allowed to retire.  Lawyers at the AMVETS Legal Clinic say that Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley, has changed the six-year protective window to a five-year protective window, without any legal authority.

Additionally, combat airmen, with impressive records who would ordinarily be retained are being separated without retirement benefits and without any medical benefits, clinic lawyers say.   “This negatively impacts hundreds of service members,” Rotunda said.

The AMVETS Clinic is representing several airmen, including Maj. Kale Mosley, a combat pilot and Air Force Academy graduate who has served for 19.5 years.  Even excluding his academy time, he falls within the six-year protective window set out by DoD Instructions, clinic lawyers say.   Mosley has served in 13 combat zones, including a recent deployment to Libya with only 30 hours’ notice.   Upon return, he was almost immediately deployed again to Iraq.  “It was on the same day of this Iraq deployment that the Air Force gave him a pink slip,” said Rotunda.

Rotunda reports that the AMVETS Legal Clinic is appealing to the Department of Defense and also to Congress. The Institute is encouraging Congress to pass a Temporary Early Retirement Program, which was last instituted during the drawdown in the 1990s.  This would allow all service members, within a few years of retirement, to receive prorated retirement benefits. 

“Maj. Mosley, and many others, will be terminated on Nov. 30 unless Congress steps in, or the Air Force reverses its earlier decisions,” Rotunda added.

Josh Flynn-Brown, a Post-Doctoral Clinical Fellow at the Military Institute, who is handling the Mosley case said, “The issues of military personnel are more pertinent than ever with increased combat zones worldwide, from Libya and Uganda to Afghanistan and Iraq.  It is a time to honor our heroes, the men and women who drop everything to fight for our country.  We honor them not by handing them a pink slip as they are shipped off to combat.”

Rotunda summed up: “America should not fire its heroes.  We’ve got to do better by them.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 18, 2011 6:28 pm

    This is just totally unacceptable. Please contact your US Congressman today to have this law overturned and the retirement rights reinstated.

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