December 20, 2005- New Special Pay Inspired by Crosby-Puller Legislation Included in DOD Authorization Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Early on Monday morning the House passed the Department of Defense (DOD) Authorization Conference Report, legislation which authorizes various programs and funding for the armed forces. The bill includes a provision establishing a new special rehabilitation pay for wounded soldiers. The $430/month rehabilitation pay was championed by Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) on behalf of Marine Lance Corporal James Crosby, a native of Winthrop, MA. The Senate is expected to pass the DOD Authorization bill by the end of the week when it adjourns for the holidays.
Once the conference report is passed, the rehabilitation pay will ensure that service members wounded in the combat zone will not suffer a pay cut while they recover in the hospital. This unintentional consequence of the special pays system was first brought to Rep. Markey’s attention by Lance Corporal James Crosby and his late father, also a Marine, after James’s combat pays were cut when he was severely injured by a mortar while on duty in Iraq and evacuated out of the combat zone for medical treatment.
“The military created certain special pays for soldiers who are sent to war and fight in harms way. It simply doesn’t make sense to cut these pays for soldiers the moment they are wounded in combat and find themselves in a fight for their lives in a hospital bed. This provision will recognize that a service member wounded while fighting for our freedoms should not be penalized monetarily when the field of battle moves from the combat zone to the hospital zone,” Rep. Markey said.
In response to Crosby’s injuries and pay cuts, Rep. Markey introduced the “Crosby-Puller Combat Wounds Compensation Act,” H.R. 771, in February of 2004 and has been fighting for its passage ever since. Working with Armed Services Committee Chair Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Rep. Markey was able to win support for including the Crosby-Puller language as a provision in the DOD Authorization Bill. Under the new special pay, troops injured in the combat zone will receive $430/month until they return to duty or begin to receive Service Member Group Life Insurance (SGLI) traumatic injury compensation.
“Since his injury, James Crosby has recovered and been discharged from the Marines,” Markey continued. “Now paralyzed from the waist down, James has many every day battles that he must overcome, but nothing stops him from advocating for the proper treatment of his fellow soldiers. Once the new special pay goes into effect, James will have earned a victory not just for himself, but also for his fellow Marines and the approximately 10,000 other injured troops from every branch of the armed services who will benefit from this one brave Marine’s determination to right a wrong.”
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CONTACT: Tara McGuiness