News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh calling on him to immediately address complaints of institutionalized discrimination in treatment for National Guard and Reserve components.

“Reserve and Guard soldiers have sacrificed careers and families to serve their country.” Senator Murray said in her letter. “Many have been deployed multiple times and a significant number of those who served early on completed their missions with less-than-adequate equipment and training.  They should never have to face a culture of condescension – especially upon returning from serving their country on the field of battle.”

The letter follows reports that Joint Base Lewis-McChord had different processes for handling the medical needs for active duty soldiers and National Guard and Reservists. In the letter, Murray also expresses her anger at a leaked PowerPoint presentation in which staff at the base referred to Reserve Components as “weekend warriors” with the accompanying image of a trucker hat.

The full text of the Senator Murray’s letter follows:

May 18, 2010

The Honorable John McHugh
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington 20310-0101 

Dear Secretary McHugh:

I am writing today to express my shock and dismay regarding the recently leaked PowerPoint slide from Madigan Army Medical Center depicting our Reserve Components soldiers as “weekend warriors” with the image of a trucker hat. Since the inception of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, our Reserve and National Guard soldiers have time after time answered the call to duty.  They have transitioned from a strategic reserve to an operational force, often without all the benefits and equipment provided to their active duty counterparts.

When deployed, all soldiers – whether active or reserve – wear the proud uniform of the Army.  They serve together and sacrifice together, and we must offer them all equal recognition, respect and repayment.  Congress has worked to address the real and perceived inadequacies between the active and reserve components. We have invested to ensure that our units, regardless of affiliation, have the equipment and training they need to accomplish their missions safely.

That is why it is unacceptable that, despite the efforts of Congress and the Army senior leadership, an institutionalized perception of National Guard and Reserve soldiers as anything less than committed members of our military continues to exist and to be disseminated.

I would like to know what your plans are to address this perception not only at Madigan Army Medical Center, but across the entire Army.  Reserve and Guard soldiers have sacrificed careers and families to serve their country. Many have been deployed multiple times and a significant number of those who served early on completed their missions with less-than-adequate equipment and training.  They should never have to face a culture of condescension – especially upon returning from serving their country on the field of battle.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Patty Murray