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Iraq: Injured Troops Pay Cut In Half

By Jules Crittenden

10/02/04 "Boston Herald"
-- When Marine Lance Cpl. James Crosby left Iraq, he was unconscious, strapped to a gurney, his legs paralyzed and his guts lacerated by shrapnel. That's when the military cut his pay in half. 

``Before you leave the combat zone, they swipe your ID card through a computer, and you go back to your base pay,'' said Crosby, who is now undergoing rehabilitation at the West Roxbury Veterans Administration. 

Next week, U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Malden) will file a bill to establish the Crosby-Puller Act to allow wounded soldiers and Marines to keep their hazardous duty pay until they can return to duty or are medically retired. The bill is named for Crosby and the late Lt. Gen. Lewis ``Chesty'' Puller, the most decorated Marine in the Corps' history. 

``These Marines and soldiers have paid the price for our freedom. If anyone is owed a debt by our government, it is them,'' said Markey, who worked with Crosby and his father, Kevin Crosby of Winthrop, on the bill. Crosby's pay had been cut from $2,500 a month to $1,200. 

``You need that pay more than ever, to move your life around,'' said Crosby, whose wife had to move from California to Massachusetts. Thanks to Markey's bill, Crosby said, ``Others won't have to go through what I did and worry about bills.'' 

Badly wounded men may be out of combat, but Crosby, in a wheelchair and on a colostomy bag, said, ``I still have to fight the consequences of what happened. I struggle every day.'' 

Copyright by the Boston Herald  http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=47048

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