Father upset that Army son must buy own uniform

Monday, May 29, 2006
http://www.kmov.com/localnews/stories/kmov_localnews_060529_uniforms.357773f0.html  (must register to KMOV to read original article)

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(KMOV) - Americans everywhere paused to honor fallen heroes Monday.

But a father in Wright City is questioning the Army's treatment of those who put their lives on the line for our country.

Bob Simmons wears a shirt that proudly shows his son defends freedom.

Jebadiah, 19, serves in the army and will soon be headed to Bosnia, minus a little extra of his spending money.

"About a week and a half two weeks ago he found out the armyís changing over to the new uniforms and they're going to make them buy them themselves and I was astounded," said Simmons.

The Army changed to new, lighter uniforms in April.

The cost for the uniforms is about $200.

Workers at Uncle Sam's, which sells the uniforms, say other solders have lamented about paying for their uniforms as well.

Bob Simmons even contacted various elected officials about the matter.

"The contacts to Senator Bond and Rep. Hulshof, although its a holiday weekend and I understand people go out of town, but I havenít heard from either of them," said Simmons.

On this Memorial Day Bob Simmons says he canít help but recall his own days in the Army. He was drafted in 1970 during the Vietnam War and says he did not have to pay for his own uniform.

And says this father, if he didn't have to, why should his son?

"These people are doing a great job. Theyíre making a big sacrifice and now the Army wants to charge them for their uniform. Next they'll charge them for bullets and their food. Its unbelievable," Simmons added.

Despite the uniform controversy, service to our country runs in that family.

Simmons has another son in the process of enlisting in the Army.