Bush: Servicemembers Depend on Families' Support
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2005 U.S. troops serving in the war against terrorism "all rely on the love and support of their families," President Bush said at a gathering of military spouses at Bolling Air Force Base here today.
President George W. Bush shakes the hand of Jonnie Nance, chairman of the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives Luncheon, after being introduced by her Oct. 25, at the Bolling Air Force Base Officers Club, in Washington, D.C. The president told the audience that he understands it is a trying time for military spouses, adding: "By standing behind those who serve, you're serving, as well." White House photo by Paul Morse
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Military members are deployed worldwide defending "our freedom and our security in the first war of the 21st century," Bush said. American servicemembers are performing dangerous missions in places like Afghanistan and Iraq "with skill and courage and compassion," Bush said.
All of America "is proud of the men and women who wear our uniform," Bush said, adding, "And so am I."
Bush also said that all servicemembers need the support of their mothers, fathers, husbands and wives. Family members send care packages and e-mails to deployed servicemembers and "provide the daily encouragement for our folks overseas," Bush said.
Bush acknowledged that today is a trying time for military spouses and noted that many have been apart from deployed loved ones. "Many of you have endured long separations from your husbands and wives," Bush said. "You miss them and worry about them, and all the while keep things running at home."
By standing behind their deployed husbands and wives, military spouses are serving as well, Bush said. The American people are grateful for "the strength and sacrifice of our military spouses -- and so am I," Bush said.
American servicemembers are sacrificing for their country, and military spouses deserve "full support in return," Bush said. Servicemembers and their families deserve the best-possible pay, Bush said, noting he'd increased basic military pay by 21 percent since 2001. Military members and their families also deserve affordable, comfortable housing and good health benefits, Bush said.
Military imminent danger pay has been increased by 50 percent to provide extra compensation for servicemembers deployed in harm's way. And, family separation pay was more than doubled. Base housing for military families has been upgraded, and out-of-pocket housing costs have been eliminated for most families living off base, Bush said.
In addition, it's easier for military families to obtain health care today, Bush said. Tax filing deadlines for deployed servicemembers have been extended. Payments for servicemembers wounded in action have been increased, and education benefits have been improved for the National Guard and Reserve.