Hello from Southwest Asia. I was reading the Standard Democrat online and read the opinion (SpeakOut) article dated Feb. 26. The person had some problems that they wanted addressed, so I will attempt to do so.
First, regarding the unexpected pass in which the family member drove to Fort Riley and spent a night on base, it is similar to a hotel suite, and they are able to keep the rooms up to date and clean by charging a nominal fee of $35 a night. That is far cheaper than any hotel or motel room in the area. I am sorry if you think that the Army should pay for the room but they will not.
Second point is that they complained about the second pass in which the soldiers were given that was 96 hours long and gave the soldiers the opportunity to do whatever they wanted to do for 96 hours. It was not mandated to travel back to Southeast Missouri, but the soldiers were allowed to do so. A senior non-commissioned officer decided to check into chartering a bus. He did so on his own time and found out how much it would cost each soldier who desired to ride the bus. The charge came out to approximately $100 per person. The senior NCOs and officers had a meeting and decided if ANY soldier did not have the money to ride the bus, but, desired to do so, they could and the cost would be taken care of by the officers and NCOs of the battalion. No one was denied the opportunity to ride the bus. If they did not ride the bus then it was because of another reason.
The Army and the Army National Guard did not provide transportation back to Missouri. They are not obligated to do so while at the mobilization station. They are obligated to return the soldiers back to the Armory when they return from the deployment. The Army and the Army National Guard are not obligated to provide hotel or motel rooms to soldiers on the weekends when they do not have training planned.
I am sorry if the reader does not understand the situation. It is unfortunate if a soldier was not able to take advantage of the 96-hour pass when it was made available. I do not know of any soldier who needed to get on a bus that was going back to Missouri and could not get on. There were several opportunities for the soldier to take advantage of the 96-hour pass at no expense to him if he would have spoken up.
Thinking of Southeast Missouri from the Desert,