There is quite a lot of justifiable outrage over this report. (There is also quite a lot of posturing from some people who frankly only care because it can be used politically.) At least one soldier has been dunned to return part of his re-enlistment bonus after he was unable to complete his full commitment – because the military discharged him after he was seriously wounded in Iraq. Is it a travesty? Yes it is. Will it stand? No it wont. Is it widespread? Well, there is one report from one soldier.
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.
To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.
Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.
One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.
He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.
Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.
A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.
This is, frankly, idiotic on the part of the military – but I'd be interested to know who – from what level – sent the letter. Was it from the top levels of the Department of Defense or was it from a fairly low level in the military bureaucracy? One thing is for sure, the company-level people can be, frankly, idiots on a lot of things. (So can the whole chain of command up the non-combat side of the military.) There is a term for folks like this in the Army: REMFs. The first two letters stand for 'Rear Echelon'. You can figure out the rest. This is a classic REMF move – not worried about the good of the Army – worried about the pile of beans they are responsible for counting.
This will be fixed – in a hurry – when someone with more brain cells than the bean counter REMFs gets involved. (They likely already have.) This was a dumbass unforced error and someone will get pounded for it. (And it will not be long before another bean counter makes just as big an error in judgment.)