Oklahoma's National Guard encouraged by proposed benefit package

Monday, January 24th 2005, 10:09 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's National Guardsmen are making their wish lists of what they'd like to see included in a new benefits package.

Topping the list are health care coverage, better educational benefits, and earlier retirement benefits. News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson talked with a National Guardsmen who's just back from Afghanistan.

Captain Jason Junkens just got back from a nine month tour of duty, training members of the Afghan National Guard. He's spent almost half his life with the guard and he's just 4 years away from retirement. Still, he'll have to wait until he's 60 years old to see any retirement benefits. Junkens realizes he doesn't see the same action in the National Guard that soldiers do serving in active duty, but he answers the same call to duty they do. "The taxpayers have paid for me to go do this, whether I want to or not, whether they want me to or not, but it's a commitment I made to them, whether I like it or not."

Captain Jason Junkens’ wife Karen: "They do a lot. They do a lot for our country. They do a lot more than I think people give them credit for and I think they should be compensated for that.”

Captain Junkens is home now, but he doesn't know for how long. Both he and his wife think it's just a matter of time before he's redeployed, this time, probably to Iraq.