Currently United States law itemizes rules, regulations and deployment locations that control the rest and recuperation (R & R) absence program for all deployed military units. This program covers expenses for troops to come home for family emergencies and for simple leave. This legislation does not include Egypt, at this time.
Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger plans to change that!
On Friday, May 20, 2011, Ruppersberger will announce new legislation to help Maryland’s National Guard soldiers who are currently serving in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Maryland’s Guard unit, the 175th deployed on March 26. (See “The 175th Infantry Regiment of Maryland Army National Guard deployed”). These 440 Maryland Army National Guard Soldiers from around the state have been deployed to Egypt for a one year deployment.
At a press conference at the Dundalk National Guard Armory in southeastern Baltimore County, Congressman Ruppersberger said, “The men and women of the National Guard are putting their regular lives on hold to serve our country and our allies.” Furthermore he said, “For their families, it’s hard to keep the home fires burning – there are empty seats at the dinner table, missed mortgage payments and unopened birthday gifts. We must work harder to provide these families with the resources they need to survive their tours of duty here at home and overseas.”
Hardships hit the families of deployed men and women when their Guard unit is activated for deployment. In many cases, the family income is greatly reduced as soldiers lose their day-to-day-job’s pay check. Those pay checks are often much more than their current military pay. This reduction in income places a major burden on the family to meet their every day bills such as mortgages, car payments and simply buying food. Their budget does not allow for the additional expense of a plane ticket.
The United States, as an ally to Israel, has had National Guard troops from around the country deployed to the Sinai Peninsula since 2002. These troops continue to work to maintain the peace treaty Israel has with Egypt. These men have put their lives on the line for our country. Ruppersberger feels they deserve the full support of our country during and after each deployment.
The current R & R law allows men and women deployed in the Middle East to fly home for free when using their annual vacation leave or for family emergencies such as funerals and other urgent matters.