Sunday, October 23, 2016

Great Way To Screw People

This just makes me sick:
Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.
A decade later? Really?

It's clear those bonuses were what was necessary to get the soldiers to reenlist--and fight. To take that away now should be criminal. It's certainly unjust.


Mrs. Widget said...

Makes me ill too.

Ellen K said...

Face it, in terms of how this administration and it's appointees treat the military and sworn law enforcement it's a wonder we haven't had a coup already.

PeggyU said...

That is pretty low down and crappy.

Anonymous said...

The soldiers shouldn't have to pay for something they didn't know was illegal. California Guard officials should have to deal with the consequences, not the average Joe. Sorry for the language but what the fuck is their problem?

BB-Idaho said...

A contract is valid unless bankruptcy occurs. Sadly, there is
nothing new under the sun .

Steve USMA '85 said...

Unfortunately for the soldiers, this is a case of believing the salesman and not reading the sales contract you signed. Going back to the days of recruiters telling enlistees that you get free medical care for life if you make 20 years. In actuality, there was nothing in the enlistment contract that holds the Government responsible for your health care. This was decided when the military started charging retirees for healthcare and denying them access to post facilities due to lack of resources. Retirees files a lawsuit and lost because it was not in writing.

This is probably a similar case. Retention officer promised a bonus if you just sign here. Soldier signed and cashed check never reading what they signed. However, the soldier is legally responsible to abide by that document. Many didn't although it is arguable in each case whether the soldier knew they were not in compliance. But, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. If they didn't comply with the requirements of the bonus, they must give it back.

The only real recourse here is what happened in the medical case I mentioned above. Congress enacted laws codifying what medical care is and isn't required and creating Tricare, the military medical insurance plan. CA & Federal legislatures must enact something if they don't want the military to collect the money. As far as the military is concerned, their hands are tied. They must, by law, recoup that money.

Mike Thiac said...


I had a soldier who enlisted in October 92 for a student loan repayment program. Three years later she is notified, after several "pay this or die" letters from her loan companies, that the recruiter was "wrong," that program ended in FY 92 and she had to either eat it or they would allow her to walk on her contract.

It took over three years and a lot of work with our IG to get this fixed, we finally had to go to the Board for the Correction of Military Records (I never knew there was such an animal) and they said, "Army, this is not 3 months after signing her contact, it's three get to eat it this time."

One of my proudest moments in the uniform.

I'm not about to say this is an option, you need someone smarter than me, but it's something to look at.

Steve USMA '85 said...


You are correct, there is recourse but it isn't easy. You're a good Commander for following this through. I know of the Board of Correction of Military Records. Not easy to get their blessing even when you are in the right.

And I agree, you need someone smarter than me also and I hope they have to good heads on the job to protect the soldiers that were innocently duped in this matter.