• New plan would remove military members who can't deploy

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Service members who have been unable to deploy for at least a year could soon be kicked out of the military.

    Jacksonville boasts the largest veteran population in the state.

    Among its area installations, 50,000 active duty, reserve and civilian men and women are employed, according to the city of Jacksonville.

    But now, a new memo from the Department of Defense is raising the question of whether some of those jobs could be eliminated.

    “I think the concept is very good for what our armed forces is supposed to be doing and that is to accomplish a mission,” said Col. Len Loving of the Five Star Veterans Center.

    Loving supports the new DOD memo. According to the Army Times, 11 percent, or 235,000 service members are "non-deployable" for everything from lacking immunizations to having short- or long-term injuries.

    “[The military has] become somewhat softened, and think they see the need to get back a well-honed, trim armed forces that can do the job that they're supposed to be doing on a daily basis,” Loving said.

    Action News Jax spoke with a local Navy veteran who served at Mayport and disagrees with the memo.

    Connery Earl said he was discharged after suffering a spinal injury.  

    He said he would have liked to have had the opportunity to continue to serve in some capacity.

    “It's very cutthroat,” Earl said. “It's very unfair. People suffer because of those policies.”

    Earl said he served to support his 11-year-old son, Cameron. He said when he was discharged, he nearly lost everything.

    “The military should do better,” Earl said. “The people that fight wars for them, they should treat them better, not make them feel used because of an injury.”

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