U.S. troops in 150-plus countries
In light of the Korean conflict that we have right now after the North Korean nuclear and missile tests, how many countries does the United States have troops in at the present time?
The United States had 295,003 military personnel deployed in more than 150 countries at the end of 2007, according to Department of Defense statistics on the Census Bureau's 2009 statistical abstract.
A total of 1.08 million service people were stationed within the United States and its territories. Among those serving in foreign countries, there were 57,080 troops in Germany; 32,803 in Japan; 27,014 in South Korea; 9,925 in the United Kingdom; 9,855 in Italy; 1,286 in Spain; and 1,594 in Turkey.
At that time, there were 218,500 military personnel in Iraq and 25,240 in Afghanistan. In May, the number of U.S. forces in Iraq had dropped to 134,000, according to an estimate by Gen. Ray Odierno, commander in Iraq, in a military briefing, according to the New York Times.
With President Barack Obama sending an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, there will be 53,000 in that country by the end of summer. Obama has announced that most American troops will be out of Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, with 35,000 to 50,000 remaining to advise Iraqi forces. All U.S. forces are to be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, according to the president's plans.
Status of the GM pension plan
My husband is a General Motors retiree. We have heard nothing about how the salaried employees are being handled. What happens to the pension plan that he is a part of?
General Motors pensions appear to be safe despite the auto company's bankruptcy, which was approved by a court on July 5.
The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. issued this statement: "Although General Motors Corp. has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, its two defined benefit pension plans remain ongoing under GM's sponsorship. Both plans, one for hourly workers and one for salaried employees, continue to be insured by the PBGC, which guarantees benefits up to limits set by law.
"Stakeholders in the bankruptcy, including GM, the United Auto Workers and the U.S. government, have stated their intent to maintain the plans under the sponsorship of a new corporate entity to be formed from the sale of GM's productive assets. The PBGC will work with all parties to achieve that outcome, which would be in the best interests of GM's more than 670,000 pension plan participants and the pension insurance program."
However, GM said it was working to reduce some retiree benefits for salaried workers, including life insurance and health care coverage.
For information, call toll-free 1-800-489-4646 or see the PBGC Web site, www.pbgc.gov.