WASHINGTON, D.C. – As he continues seeking feedback from Montana and around the country, Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today thanked the Military Officers Association of America for their support his legislation, the Keep America’s Promises Act. This legislation would restore pensions and other earned benefits currently being denied to 157 Air Force officers who were honorably released from service as a consequence of the Obama Administration’s Reduction in Forces Policy.
Rehberg has championed this issue in Congress, last month sending a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley asking him to restore the officers to active duty in order to restore their benefits.
Their letter of support is below:
Dear Congressman Rehberg:
On behalf of the over 377,000 members of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), I am writing to express our support for H.R. 3904, the “Keep America’s Promises Act.”
Last year, the United States Air Force involuntarily separated 157 officers who were twice deferred from promotion to 0-5. At the time, I wrote the Secretary of the Air Force (with a copy to the Secretary of Defense) to urge reconsideration of this insensitive action.
In the past, such officers have been continued until retirement eligibility at 20 years, or at least have been offered voluntary incentives to accept early separation or retirement.
MOAA believes based on the precedent of the drawdown of the 1990s that officers with at least 15 years of service should not be subject to involuntary separation during a drawdown period – and it appears Congress fully agrees with the recent reauthorization of Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA).
Your bill would correct the Air Force’s injustice by retroactively authorizing TERA to qualifying service members subjected to last year’s drawdown efforts.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently said, “We have a volunteer force that is the heart and soul of our military strength, and we have to do everything possible to protect that volunteer force.”
Your bill does exactly that. Thank you for introducing this important legislation and for your continued support of our men and women who serve and have served their country. We pledge our strong support to win prompt passage of the “Keep America’s Promises Act.”