Guest obby Posted November 21 Report Share Posted November 21 Injured troops to keep their bonusesPosted November 21st, 2007 at 1:30 pm Share This | Spotlight | Permalink Following up on an item from yesterday, news that injured U.S. troops were being asked to return bonus money from the military spread very quickly, putting the Pentagon in a very awkward position. The good news, the practice apparently wonâ€™t happen any more.To briefly recap for those just joining us, a CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh reported this week that the Pentagon is â€œdemanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.â€ Troops get up to $30,000 enlistment bonuses, but in thousands of cases, soldiers seriously wounded during their deployments have been ordered to pay back some of the money.In particular, the report focused on Iraq war veteran Jordan Fox, who was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle, causing back injuries and blindness in his right eye. He was sent home, unable to complete the final three months of his military commitment. Last week, the Pentagon sent him a bill: Fox owed the government nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus.This morning, Brigadier General Michael Tucker, deputy commanding general of Walter Reed, appeared on Fox News to discuss the controversy. He acknowledged that this has happened, but assured the audience that it was a mistake that wouldnâ€™t happen again.This is, to be sure, encouraging. For those who canâ€™t watch clips online, Gen. Tucker said, â€œWeâ€™re not sure what happened, but weâ€™re gonna fix it.â€ Troops will not be asked for a refund, and those whoâ€™ve already given bonus money back will be reimbursed.But there are a few lingering questions.Paul Kiel explains that troops will now be able to keep the money theyâ€™ve already received, but what about the rest of the money theyâ€™re owed?Tucker said that army policy â€œis that soldiers who are wounded in combat or have line of duty investigation injuriesâ€¦ we will not go after a recoupment of any bonuses they receive.â€ Recouping bonuses, he said, â€œdoesnâ€™t pass the common sense test.â€But notice that phrasing. While that policy, if implemented, would prevent injured soldiers from having to pay back bonuses theyâ€™d already received, they might still not receive their full enlistment bonus. Thatâ€™s because the Army could still withhold parts of the bonus on the basis that the soldiers didnâ€™t complete their full tour due to the injury.Indeed, Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Penn.), whoâ€™s taken the lead on protecting the troopsâ€™ bonuses added, â€œâ€¦I am disappointed that the policy does not go further by stating that wounded soldiers will also receive the remaining balance of future bonus payments. It is preposterous for our government to have a policy that says that a soldier who has sustained serious injuries in the field of battle has not fulfilled his or her service obligation.â€Troops get their full enlistment bonus after they fulfill their contract. Injured troops who canâ€™t serve obviously canâ€™t finish their obligation. Altmire wants to change that, and while I know Republican lawmakers tend to reflexively object to any Democratic legislation regarding the troops, Iâ€™d like to think Altmireâ€™s proposals to fix the system would pass Congress unanimously. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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