Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wounded soldiers asked to return signing bonuses

Sometimes, you read stories, and you can literally feel your bloodpressure rising.

But, maybe, it's just me.

Wounded Soldier: Military Wants Part Of Bonus Back
Reporting Marty Griffin

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.

"I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they're telling me they want their money back," he explained.

It's a slap for Fox's mother, Susan Wardezak, who met with President Bush in Pittsburgh last May. He thanked her for starting Operation Pittsburgh Pride which has sent approximately 4,000 care packages.

He then sent her a letter expressing his concern over her son's injuries, so she cannot understand the U.S. Government's apparent lack of concern over injuries to countless U.S. Soldiers and demands that they return their bonuses.

While he's unsure of his future, Fox says he's unwavering in his commitment to his country.

"I'd do it all over again... because I'm proud of the discipline that I learned. I'm proud to have done something for my country," he said.

But Fox feels like he's already given enough. He'll never be able to pursue his dream of being a police officer because of his wounds and he can't believe he's being asked to return part of his $10,000 signing bonus.

KDKA contacted Congressman Jason Altmire on his behalf. He says he has proposed a bill that would guarantee soldiers receive full benefit of bonuses.

Article is found here.

Disgust can't begin to express what I'm feeling.

UPDATE: Watched Keith Olbermann tonight, and he said that the Military is saying that this was ' a mistake', and of course, they're not taking the bonus, and that they're doing to look in their files to see if this ' mistake' has been done to any other soldier.


The Angry Independent said...

On one hand, Bush & Co. wants everyone to believe that they value the troops, but the reality for these soldiers tells a different story.

You would think that after Walter Reed, the extended tours, the lack of attention to mental health, the increase in suicides, problems with Guardsmen/women keeping their civilian jobs, and all of the other horror stories about benefits...they should have had these problems taken care of by now. This shows that the problem is within the government culture. They have made a conscious decision that veterans (esp. the injured) would not be a priority.

Yet they (those in the White House) keep feeding the gullible American public all of this nonsense about how Patriotic they are.

The military has become little more than a convenient prop for these guys... a backdrop for Bush & Co. whenever they want to sell the people a war. But when these soldiers come back hurt, it's as if they are discarded by their government.

DHB said...

These are really shocking and disgusting incidents. Indeed when the soldiers return injured they are first discarded by the Government. This is extremely pathetic.