Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Veterans Pay Up for their Service

By: Andrea Davis

            Recently 10,000 California veterans have been ordered to pay back their enlistment bonuses  they earned over a decade ago when they signed up to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. After an audit of the California National Guard from the Pentagon, it was determined that the California Guard handed out bonuses to soldiers who didn’t qualify. These bonuses were given because the California National Guard failed in meeting their recruiting goals. Consequently, they’ve now asked veterans and service members to pay this money back. Although many service members have filed appeals in response to this action, they are still being held responsible for roughly an average of $15,000 each. Those who do not pay face interest charges, tax liens and wage deductions. There may be some who argue that during the time they received the funds, they did not qualify, so they should not have received the money and should pay it back. But the fact of the matter is whether they qualified at the time or not, those men and women have earned every cent. In the time many of these soldiers received the funds, they have risked their lives for our protection; they have served multiple deployments and in many cases risked their lives in war time situations. A decade later and the California National Guard shows their gratitude by placing many of these veterans in financial ruin, with monthly payments that often total about $650 a month! My husband served in the USMC and while I am thankful he was never sent to war, he certainly made sacrifices just like many others. Everything our men and women in uniform have, they earn. These bonuses were not handouts. The contracts signed and fulfilled were not done so lightly. To come after them ten years later for money they have earned through their service is wrong. Those in power are always rallying for our support to keep them in power. It is time for them to intervene and use their power to support our veterans and service members who are being mistreated.

Post Script- Since this article the military has withdrawn their request for these men and women to repay their bonuses, most likely due to overwhelming criticism from all avenues of America.


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