David A. Bryant

So the election is over and Donald Trump is our president elect. So what is this going to mean for our service members and veterans?

Likely, a lot of good things.

President-elect Trump has stated he plans on rebuilding our military and getting rid of hindrances such as sequestration. That alone can be a huge help for our soldiers under a tight rotation schedule which is keeping them away from home more often than when they spent most of their time in a combat zone.

Thanks to budget cuts, the Army is currently at an end strength of about 475,000. The Air Force is flying in planes nearly 30 years old and the Navy is the smallest it has been since before World War I. Our military is doing a lot more with a lot less, and the strain on our troops and equipment is evident.

Trump promises to change that. He wants to increase our number of troops in the Army to 540,000, give us the money to replace our aging equipment, ensure we get the training we need and increase our pay.

While I don’t foresee our soldiers doing away with nine-month rotations around the world, having an extra 65,000 troops will mean fewer deployments for those soldiers currently leaving home every 15 months or so. More time at home will make for happier troops and happier families, something we’re long overdue for.

More pay and a return of lost benefits means a stronger recruiting and retention rate. Military leadership is probably breathing a collective sigh of relief about that — it’s difficult to accomplish the many tasks given to the military if you don’t have the people to do it with.

I sincerely hope that once he takes office, Trump will also work to get rid of the new requirement for incoming military members to pay a premium for their health care. I don’t know about you, but I would be extremely upset if I was sent to a combat zone with the potential for death or serious bodily injury and have to pay for the privilege of getting patched up on the off chance I earned a red badge of courage.

He also plans on fixing the Veterans Administration so our veterans can receive the care they deserve, to include seeing a local doctor when visiting a VA hospital is unable to see the veteran in a timely fashion. Fixing the broken suicide hot line is also a big priority of his.

I have been extremely worried about what the future was going to look like, but if Trump does what he says he wants for our military and veterans, those worries may soon be unfounded. This is a type of hope and change I can truly get behind.

David A. Bryant is an Army retiree and the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at dbryant@kdhnews.com or 257-501-7554.

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