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Letters: A Navy SEAL's plight

February 19, 2013

Re "Bin Laden's killer asks for benefits," Feb. 14

The delay in processing veterans' disability claims is inexcusable. But the fact that the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden does not qualify for a pension is based on his own decision to retire before the 20-year threshold. With 16 years of service, he should have known that he had to serve four more years to qualify.

The military pension system encourages personnel to serve for 20 years. Those who leave the military before that are encouraged by this system to transfer to the armed forces' reserve component, including the National Guard, where they can complete their 20 years of service and qualify for a reduced military pension beginning at age 60. Those who leave the military before 20 years of service also qualify for extremely generous GI Bill educational and other benefits that are unlike any in the civilian sector.

It is untrue that personnel leave the service with nothing.

Alfred M. Diaz

San Dimas

The writer is a retired U.S. Army reserve colonel.

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