I am writing this informed only by headlines of a disturbing story. The CA National Guard seems to be collecting what they would call debts. Veterans and Soldiers would call it blind siding betrayal of the whore pig variety. But again, I’m informed by headlines alone at this time. But I thought this would be an interesting opportunity to see how news of this magnitude is perceived these days.
I am a combat veteran. I was in the US Army Infantry for 4 years and deployed to Afghanistan from 09-10 with the best group of brothers a man could ever strive to meet. It was the best and the worst year of my life and I know many of us feel the same.
Moving on…its not about me. It’s about all of us.
Headlines. ”Thousands Of California Vets Who Fought With National Guard Told To Repay Their Enlistment Bonuses”
“The Department of Defense previously offered former members of the California National Guard $15,000 or more to re-enlist, and is now threatening the veterans with possible interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they don’t return the funds, the Los Angeles Times Reports.”
This is disgusting, shocking, and…typical. Admittedly I am just reading the headlines and a few quotes at this time. Here is where my brain is going…money was hidden away in the form of bonuses and severances. Reasons for more soldiers to enlist became more and more frequent. The plan to mobilize around 40,000 troops in support of Operation Enduring Freedom brought an influx of Americans through the revolving doors of the recruiters. I joined in 2008 and was one of those soldiers who deployed because the need was dire. I don’t regret a thing I did in my time in the Army. You’ll have heard this before…we fought for the men next to us first and foremost. We brought America with us in that form of brotherhood and camaraderie. We helped people while I was there. Everyday we saved lives. I know that. However, any Soldier worth his salt will tell you, that in most cases, we just
postponed the inevitable. And that fucking haunts us. So what’s that worth to our country? Many of us were pushed out prior to our actual exit date. And now in CA it seems many were just short-term investments who are now being asked to pay back what was not enough in the first place. Did we sign something that says this is ok? I am still at headlines at this point. Does that even matter if our Veterans are having their finances completely flipped on its side.
Here is my wild accusation founded, admittedly at this time, only by headlines.
Money needed to disappear for a while. We had many reasons for war and money to go to war. Money was given to Soldiers and Veterans and therefore it was accounted for. Which may or may not have been important at the time.
No matter what you may feel about the military or war or the troops, just remember we are Americans first. We made sacrifices. We want to be afforded the basic respect people who have done what we have done and seen what we’ve seen deserve. And we don’t ask for much. But definitely could do without deception. And I know lies when I see them. I’ve had my problems before and am no saint. “I’d rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints.”
Oh and by the way, I am hearing horror stories about not just bonuses…but severances as well.
“In 1993, during the Post Desert Storm draw down, the Army offered a severance if you would leave active duty. They said I could still serve in the Reserves, so I took it and went into the National Guard. Now that I’ve filed for retirement, the government is garnishing 60% of my pay for the next 2 ½ years until the severance is repaid. Anybody need a helicopter pilot? Actor? Limo driver?”
I’ll be learning all I can and sharing more soon.
Combat Veteran essays to make the world not feel so empty.