Valley military member says he's being forced to retire early due to budget cuts

PHOENIX - Thousands of soldiers will be handed pink slips in the next few weeks as the defense department cuts its budget.

Now a Valley serviceman thinks he's being forced to retire early, without full benefits, for the same reason.

The airman, who’s asked to remain nameless as he is still on the job, is just a year-and-a-half from retirement.

Twenty years of service would mean 50 percent of his pay, plus medical benefits for his family for the rest of his life.

"Combining the two you could effectively say that my benefits could total $2 million to $3 million over my lifetime, but they're pretty much dangling a check in front of me for around $100,000," he said.

Instead, the airman is being offered 10 percent of his pay, basic care from the VA Hospital and he’ll have to pay out of pocket to insure his wife and kids.

He was injured in the line of duty so officially he's being medically discharged and tells ABC15 he did expect to be ordered to retire early and did expect a small monetary penalty.

"I don't think it's unfair they're letting me go. If you're unfit for duty, you're unfit for duty and there are requirements," he said.

He chose to stay in the military for so long because he wanted the security for his family. Now he believes the budget is being valued more than his service to his country and he feels betrayed.  

"To be at the very cusp of retirement and not get what I thought I would get, I can't even describe it, it's rough."

He has a few days left to decide whether to challenge the medical findings or take the severance deal.

There is a military attorney in Texas dedicated to helping with this issue but he says the office is so busy with similar cases he hasn't even gotten a call back yet.

ABC15 contacted the military base where he works but was unable to reach a media representative.

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