Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner Says Military Veterans and Their Families Being Shortchanged by Store Closings.
Calls for Saving Commissary COMMISSARY. An officer whose principal duties are to supply the army with provisions.
2. The Act of April 14, 1818, s. 6, requires that the president, by and with the consent of the senate, shall appoint a commissary general with the rank, pay, and emoluments , PX at Kelly Support Facility, Willow Grove Willow Grove may refer to:
CARLISLE, Pa., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Auditor General Jack Wagner today enlisted the aid of state military veterans to help save military stores in eastern and western Pennsylvania that may be closed by the Pentagon.
Wagner, appearing in front of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars here, asked for a unified front to keep the commissary and PX facilities open at the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Allegheny County and Willow Grove in eastern Pennsylvania.
"We must fight to help Pennsylvanians presently serving our country, and our veterans," Wagner said.
Wagner, a former U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam, noted that the stores provide discounts on food, clothing, and household items to more than 200,000 retired and active military personnel and their families - including Pennsylvania soldiers now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It is unconscionable Unusually harsh and shocking to the conscience; that which is so grossly unfair that a court will proscribe it.
When a court uses the word unconscionable to describe conduct, it means that the conduct does not conform to the dictates of conscience. that the federal government would try to take away a benefit from patriotic Americans who have volunteered to put themselves in harm's way for the defense of our country," Wagner said. "We hear a lot of talk in Washington, D.C., from President Bush, about not cutting funding for the troops. We should not cut funding for the troops when we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan - or when they return home from a war."
Wagner made his remarks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars' 43rd annual mid- winter conference Friday night in Carlisle, Pa.
The Base Realignment and Closure Base Realignment and Closure (or BRAC) is a process of the United States federal government directed at the administration and operation of the Armed Forces, used by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and Congress to close excess military installations and realign Commission recommended in 2005 the closing of the commissary and PX at the Kelly Support Facility in Allegheny County and the Post Exchange at Willow Grove in Montgomery County. Many members of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation, its two U.S. senators, and Gov. Rendell had opposed the closings.
Wagner said that he wrote a letter to BRAC Brač (bräch), Ital. Brazza, island (1991 pop. 13,824), 152 sq mi (394 sq km), off the Dalmatian coast in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia. It is a popular summer resort and tourist spot. Supetar (Ital. in 2005, opposing the closing of the Kelly Support Facility and Willow Grove.
"Closing military installations during a time of war is like taking cops off the street during a crime spree," Wagner said. Additionally, as the state's auditor general, Wagner said he was concerned that the base closings would have a negative impact on Pennsylvania's economy.
After BRAC announced the base closings in August 2005, Wagner wrote letters to the Pentagon and to the Defense Commissary Agency The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense that manages more than 260 grocery establishments on U.S. military installations worldwide. (DeCA), seeking additional information about shopping facilities at the two installations. He said the stores should remain open even if other base activities were eliminated, because they provided benefits that veterans had earned. He said that neither the Pentagon nor DeCA responded with details.
Wagner wrote a letter in December to Dr. David S. Chu, the Defense Department's Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, demanding that he provide more public information.
Wagner wrote to Chu after meeting with Western Pennsylvania veterans who told him that they had detected signs that Kelly's commissary, PX and clothing store were slowly being phased out. They said that the dining hall closed a year ago, the snack bar closed nine months ago, the barbershop opens only intermittently, and the military clothing store had dramatically reduced inventory and was being consolidated into the PX.
Closing the stores would have a devastating impact on military families who rely on them to help stretch pensions and paychecks, Wagner said. About 167,000 military personnel and their immediate families, from Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia, are eligible to shop at the Kelly Support Facility; about 45,000 military personnel live within a 25-mile radius of Willow Grove. If these stores are closed, military families would have to travel to Carlisle; Dayton, Ohio; or Fort Dix, N.J., for commissary service, Wagner said. This would be a hardship on retired veterans and those with disabilities, and could force some families to relocate to be closer to commissary stores.
Wagner noted that a commissary and PX were saved at Fort Benjamin Harrison Fort Benjamin Harrison was a U.S. Army post located on the northeast side of Indianapolis, Indiana, named for the 23rd United States President Benjamin Harrison. Land was purchased in 1903, with the post officially being named for President Harrison in honor of Indianapolis being in Indianapolis after the public lobbied its congressional delegation. He said that a new $12.5 million store will soon open at the base.
Wagner told VFW See Video for Windows. members that they must fight to preserve the benefits they have earned through military service.
"We must fight, not only for ourselves, but for future veterans," Wagner said.
CONTACT: Steve Halvonik, Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General, +1-717-787-1381
Web site: http://www.auditorgen.state.pa.us/