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A LITTLE TRANSPARENCY

February 20, 2013

Okay, so I’m typically a private guy; but I’m posting stuff on the INTERNET for crying out loud. This affords a certain range of voice.

I’d like to share a little bit of my life with you that’s being affected by this fiscal cliff situation. And that’s another thing – I try to avoid political stuff. However, with my occupation, I am inherently affected by the goings-on in Washington, especially with what we’re facing if an appropriations bill isn’t passed by March 1st.

To express to you how I’m feeling and will be affected, I’m posting a letter I just wrote to my Congressman. I encourage you to read it, research the subject for yourself, and if you’re so moved, contact your own representatives. However it is you feel about the situation, be informed – and here’s the chance to get a personal perspective from someone in the trenches, as it were.

And, if you’re interested, check out this website – this is where I work: The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.

And to anyone in active service:

I encourage you to write to your own representatives concerning the situations with your respective commands.  You may not have as much of, if any, of a civilian workforce, but the situation is nonetheless dire.  Which carrier will be unable to refuel next?  Which strike group is going to have to stay out longer because the Lincoln can’t refuel and deploy?  Who wants to be deployed on a ship indefinitely?  On the ground, who wants longer deployments, base cutbacks, personnel cutbacks, and a general uncertainty of the future in the hands of lawmakers who would rather go on vacation than work diligently toward a resolution, not only for our lives in our military vocations, but for the defense of our nation?

Take action – write to your Congressmen and women.  One voice against many might not do much, but many against many will cause something to happen.  Spread the word.

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February 20, 2013

Congressman Holding,

My name is Cliff Bailey and I’m a Mass Communication Specialist Petty Officer 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy. I am currently stationed at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, assigned as a Forensic Photographer. I’ve been here since July and it has been an amazing experience.

Are you familiar with JPAC’s mission? It has a strong presence in North Carolina, but in case you’re not, our mission is to locate and recover the remains of fallen servicemembers from past American conflicts. Our work is primarily focused in SE Asia but our scope is worldwide.

Everywhere I go, whenever my job comes up in conversation, everyone says it’s such a noble mission, bringing home those who made the ultimate sacrifice to render them proper honors and to bring resolution to the surviving members of their families who never knew what happened to them. However, our mission is in jeopardy if the continuing resolution is not stopped and an appropriations bill is not passed.

If we go into sequestration we’ll have to furlough our civilian employees, who make up a significant portion of our workforce and are in charge of the key positions in our mission – the anthropologists who lead us through the jungles and coordinate the excavation efforts. What that means is, if we’re sequestered we will be unable to accomplish our mission because the anthropologists will not be able to go on our 30-45+ day missions.

And it’s not just us – the military at large is being compromised. One of our carriers, the USS Lincoln is sitting in port, unable to fuel up to deploy again because of this mess. That’s over 5,000 servicemembers unable to do their jobs in maintaining a forward presence. That’s thousands more needing to pick up the slack created by the Lincoln’s inability to deploy. There’s talk about indefinite deployments at sea – being out on the water like that, away from your family with no end in sight does bad things to a person’s mind.

Morale, the American military’s most valuable asset, is being critically undermined by the perceived blasé approach Congress at large is taking toward the situation we’re facing. Taking a recess just weeks before the deadline of an already extended deadline that holds the fates of ours and our friend’s jobs in the balance? How would you feel about sacrificing your basic liberties for the sake of people who don’t seem to take your well-being seriously?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful and I appreciate what you yourself are doing, but is there anything you can do – talking to your colleagues, encouraging a compromise before throwing out the baby with the bathwater – before it comes to sequestration?

Personally, I see this time as either adversity poising us for greatness or the further erosion of our system of government to the point where America as we know it ceases to be.

Thank you for your time.

Very respectfully,

MC3 Clifford Bailey

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2 Comments
  1. M Skowronski permalink

    Nicely written, and well said.

    And thanks for your service.

  2. Thank you for your support; it is greatly appreciated.

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