I cannot imagine the feeling of having to face down the enemy of your country. I have never served in the military, so I cannot begin to know what a price has been paid by those who have. The separation from your family seems to me to be bad enough, but then there is the fact that people will also be shooting at and trying to blow you up.
So it is not surprising that the Army has had trouble with recruiting while fighting two wars. A decade or so ago, they came up with the idea of bonuses. If those already serving could be enticed to reenlist, then the shortage of soldiers would be somewhat elevated.
This worked very well for the Army, and they were able to provide the quality people needed to maintain the surge. But, they did not tell the soldiers in California that they would not get to keep their bonuses.
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The Los Angeles Times reports
Sort of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.
Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.
Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments, and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.
Now, the Pentagon is claiming that due to a lack of oversight, there was massive fraud. So, these soldiers, who did nothing but accept the bonus offered them, are now being treated as if they were criminals. Many of these soldiers have to take financial risks to pay back the money.
This is a travesty. These heroes have to pay back what they earned. It seems like a breach of contract.