Posted on October 2, 2003
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander today applauded the passage of an amendment offered by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) that will help military families. Alexander is co-sponsor of the measure that provides funding for troops on two-week leave to fly home to see their loved ones. Under current Department of Defense policy, troops on two-week leave from Iraq are flown free of charge to a major U.S. airport (such as Baltimore, Maryland), but soldiers are responsible for buying their own plane tickets home to visit loved ones. "During the hearings I held at Fort Campbell and in Washington to hear from military families, I heard again and again how hard it is to have a loved one away from home for so long," Alexander said. "I was surprised to learn the Defense Department was only paying for Tennessee soldiers to get to a few major airports far from Tennessee. We ought to provide funding for them to get all the way home for their short leave. That's what this amendment does. "The men and women of our military are putting their lives on the line everyday for us in Iraq. The least we can do is pay for them to get home to see their loved ones." The Senate passed the amendment by unanimous consent today.