Pentagon demanding soldiers’ repayments

Dollar billsJenelle Franklin

California National Guard is under scrutiny after reports of mishandled funds overpaid 9,700 soldiers for reenlistment in the early 2000’s.

What is shocking all levels of society is the demand for repayment of bonuses paid to soldiers during a troop shortage a decade ago; underscored by wage garnishments, tax liens and interest charges if they refuse.

Our nation’s combat soldiers who traveled abroad to lands unknown to fight in honor of Sept. 11 2001, are being demanded to repay the very money they spent to keep their family afloat during multiple tours in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and other “classified” locations we weren’t privy to know about when our soldiers were off base completing missions.

A soldier leaves civilian life as they enter bootcamp, shipped away from home with a glimmer of hope still in their eyes. After helmets, body armour and rucksacks filled with a hundred pounds of gear were strapped to their shoulders, their knees buckle at first, the pride of the weight of their country will be built through “Hoo-rahs” and “ Yes, Sargents”.

Short visit home. Then, they are off to war, to places they may not make it back from, a thought they very well ponder. They kiss their families, their lovers and pets “Goodbye”. Maybe a tear might slip from their eye. Loading onto busses, celebrated with a full parade, we wave goodbye to heroes and maybe pray to a higher power for their safe return.

For the ones who make it back, to ask to leave their homes again for pay they know would help save their lives but risk it at the same time.

A concerned mother asks, “how do you expect him to pay it back?” after her son was sent a demand for repayment notice. A fight her disabled son could not do for himself after war injuries, she went to battle in court and won.

Not all cases have been a win for soldiers refusing to pay, some have had thousands of dollars in fines added to their total as they run through their appeals.

“If they want their money, I want my time back,” one soldier told the press.

“Swift justice,” an Army veterans says of the Oct. 25 news that congress members are calling for a stop of repayment demands by the Pentagon.



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