WASHINGTON - Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, has asked Defense Secretary Richard Cheney to authorize imminent danger pay immediately to troops serving in the Persian Gulf.
In a letter to Cheney, Byron said she saw no difference between the current situation in the Persian Gulf and the threat U.S. troops faced during the 1988 reflagging of Kuwaiti tankers.
Imminent danger pay can be authorized at the discretion of the defense secretary and would amount to an additional $110 per month for personnel deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield.
Byron's request comes after her return from Saudi Arabia as part of a 22-member congressional delegation sent by the House leadership over the Labor Day weekend to observe the airlift of U.S. armed forces to the Persian Gulf region.
In her letter to Cheney, Byron said she thought that, if anything, the Navy's role in enforcing the embargo against Iraq is more dangerous than the reflagging mission of 1988, during which U.S. servicemen were killed when an Iraqi-fired Exocet missile struck the USS Stark.
"In short," she wrote, "I believe that we have underestimated and failed to respond to the toll that the current threat in the Persian Gulf exacts from our people."