Reid sponsors bill to stop charging injured troops for food after Dayton deputy hurt in Iraq

A Lyon County Sheriff's deputy is at the center of a controversy about the military charging injured troops for their food.

Marine reservist Staff Sgt. Bill Murwin, of Stagecoach lost part of his foot in a grenade attack June 15 in Iraq.

After a 24-day hospital stay in Bethesda, Md., Murwin, who had served 10 years of active duty, was discharged and promptly received a $210 bill for his food.

That fact outraged U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida, who complained to the St. Petersburg Times and introduced a measure to change the law. He also paid Murwin's bill.

On Thursday, Sen. Harry Reid D-Nev., co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to change the government's policy.

Currently, military personnel who are hospitalized are expected to reimburse the government $8.10 a day for food -- the amount they receive daily in their pay for rations.

"When a soldier is wounded in combat, we shouldn't add insult to injury by making them pay for the hospital food they eat," Reid said. "It's a disgrace that a soldier who was wounded in combat lies in a hospital bed worrying about a bill from his own government."

Murwin, who is expected to return to his duties as a patrol deputy despite losing three toes, said he is happy for the support -- not for himself, but for troops for whom a hospital stay could result in a $1,000 bill.

"This whole thing isn't about me," Murwin said Thursday. "I could have paid my bill. Someone needs to know these young guys can't afford this.

"I think it's wrong. I really do. I don't think it's wrong for senior enlisted like myself or officers who have the income and can pay, but I think junior enlisted are already at a disadvantage, there's no way they can pay. It's like having to pay for getting blown up."


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