Saturday, October 06, 2007

Army Rips off 2600 soldiers

Story: "When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush's surge.
"It's pretty much a slap in the face," Anderson said. "I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership... once again failing the soldiers."

Anderson's orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

"Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month," Anderson said.
Both Hobot and Anderson believe the Pentagon deliberately wrote orders for 729 days instead of 730. Now, six of Minnesota's members of the House of Representatives have asked the Secretary of the Army to look into it -- So have Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman."

This is simply unacceptable. Two thousand, six hundred men volunteered to serve in the National guard, which traditionally does not provide overseas roles, are send to Iraq for almost 2 years, and they rightly are expecting just compensation. They return home, only to discover that they are offcially deemed to be 1 day short of education and pay benifits.
This situation needs to be addressed, and fixed by the Army quickly, because this is nothing short of a travesty, both to the soldiers and their


Gino said...

i doubt it was intentional.
the military bearucracy doesnt function any more smoothly than any other govt agency.

my brother, 82AB, currently in afghanistan, has his paycheck all screwed quite often, certain premiums always missing, like jump pay, combat pay, overseas pay... you name it. it takes months to get it squared away.

Palm boy said...

Still, needs to be fixed.

Guitarman said...

This isn't anything new. When I was in bootcamp in the Marine Corps early 1980's I/we reservists were known as 120 day reservists. They wanted you in an out of active duty before 180 days came about. If at any stretch you serve 180 days of active duty at one strech, then you qualify for a veterans benefit. My son was part of that deployment (the Red Bull), and he got a staff infection 2 weeks before they were done there. Because of that he was active for 1 month longer and then by paying in $1,800 dollars he increased his monthly stipend for school by I think $300. But all these other guardsman/students still qualify for 8 or 9K of tuition each year. I wouldn't say they were ripped off.

Lillgw said...

I think our troops deserve everything they have coming to them (and then some) for the service they provide our country. Maybe it is a problem I see in myself but I just can't see any other decision. If I was in charge of these soldiers and we were extending there term for say 6 months and if six months and a day cost $2.08 million (2600 * 800)a month I wouldn't even consider it. Whoever makes a decision like that is going to lose their job. I don't know how many months that payment goes for but that is just a decision that cannot be made another way. The article claims that the decision was secretly made on purpose to screw the soldiers. What other benchmark are they to use? These seems like a fiscally responsible decision. All that being said I support better benefits for the troops, I just don't think it is realistic or responsible to dole them out in this way.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Governments sometimes get into a bad habit of neglecting their servicemen and women.

Palm boy said...

Guitar, I don't think they're paid enough to begin with, so to take an entire group to the edge of a pay raise like this, and take them back home, not good.

Lill, thats a perspective I hadn't thought of, make sense from a pentegon perspective.

Matt, I agree.

Guitarman said...

My son is 21 years old. After his 2 year active duty he now has about $40K sitting pretty in his bank and CD accounts. I Think the government is taking care of these boys pretty well. My 2nd oldest son is going the student loan route, living on campus and drinking espressos. He's the one I worry about. The Military is one branch of the government that we should expect to spend our money wisely. It's a volunteer army.