Veterans — one more attempt to screw our veterans? Shall we?
Big Red Car here. No niceties about the weather (OK, 62F low, 84F high, sunny as Hell) today.
The Pentagon is not a friend to our veterans. That is no revelation if you’ve ever served in the Army. You knew this.
The Pentagon can spend years gazing at their hairy navels to determine what you should call a rifleMAN which is non-threatening and accommodating to gender norming (haha, that’s an actual thing, did you know that?) while soldiers have been calling them GRUNTS for almost a century, but they cannot solve a problem they created.
Their answer, as it always is, is to SCREW OUR VETERANS.
Veterans, The Problem
A decade ago, at the height of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army was having a very tough time retaining personnel, particularly combat experienced personnel. They were not re-enlisting, even when they had as much as fifteen years of service (only five years from retirement at half pay for the rest of their lives).
Already, the Army had been using National Guard and Reserve units to round out the Regular Army as they desperately needed the bayonet strength to fight our wars. Some of these units were deployed twice in as little as four years. People were tired of having their lives disrupted to go from Little League to combat. It is a very trying transition.
Veterans, The Solution
The Army decided to solve this problem by offering generous re-enlistment bonuses. You sign up for six more years, you get a check. Sometimes, these checks were big and life changing.
Make no mistake, the Army was using $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to entice soldiers to enter into contracts which entailed their going in harm’s way for the country. That is the nature of a NO DRAFT volunteer army. Some soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice.
Hey, some of these guys got killed. Are you listening to me? Men got killed.
This was a contractual arrangement. The Army offered money for service. The soldiers predicated their re-enlistment decision upon receipt of the money.
What Went Wrong, Big Red Car?
What went wrong was that some of the recruiters and re-enlistment personnel were offering the bonuses to soldiers with the wrong MOSs (military occupational specialty) and some who were not “eligible” under the program.
The soldiers re-enlisted and received their money.
The soldiers kept their end of the contract and served.
The recruiters and re-enlistment personnel hit their quotas.
The Army agreed to the extension of the enlistment contracts of these soldiers.
The required bayonet strength of the Army was maintained.
So, Again, What Went Wrong, Big Red Car?
The Army today — TEN YEARS LATER — is now trying to collect the “inappropriately paid” re-enlistment bonuses from soldiers who have already fulfilled their end of the contract.
Again, the soldiers re-enlisted. The soldiers served out their re-enlistment. The soldiers delivered their consideration under the contract.
The Army wants their money paid back because of their own employees’ “bad acts.”
That’s Nuts, Big Red Car
Yes, it IS nuts. It is what a lawyer would call “fraud in the inducement” whereby a party to a proposed contract defrauds the other party by offering an inducement which is fraudulent.
In any event, the Pentagon did what it always does.
“Duh, we can’t waive these payments. We don’t have the authority. It’s the soldiers fault, not our recruiting and re-enlistment personnel. Sorry. You’re fucked. Give us the money back.”
Not only that, dear reader, the Pentagon tacks on a one percent admin fee for processing their own claim. That’s chutzpah for y’all!
But, Big Red Car, the Pentagon IS the Damn Army, Isn’t It?
No, dear reader, the Pentagon is where common sense goes to die.
It is where they spend all their time trying to get women through Ranger School, sling pork to ensure the Military-Industrial-Complex has enough money to keep building shit the warriors don’t need, where they try to cancel the most effective CAS (close air support) plane ever invented in the history of the world (the A-10 Warthog), where they fret how to stop calling Airmen Airmen, and where they are afraid to say “Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
No, the Pentagon is the enemy. They created this mess. They own this mess. As they say in the Army, “If you shit in your own mess kit, you have to eat it.”
Simple fairness tells us what the solution should be. [Just for the record, $15,000 over six years is $2,500 per year or about $200 per month. Small potatoes to get a man to risk his life for our country, no?]
The soldiers performed their end of the contract. Case closed. All of these claims and the wrongdoing are between the Army and their own recruiters and re-enlistment personnel. It is not the soldier’s problem.
Know this — if the Army hadn’t offered these bonuses, many of these soldiers WOULD NOT HAVE RE-ENLISTED. They would not have extended their enlistment contracts.
The Pentagon has an appeal process which they say has to be initiated by the individual soldier and which cannot be applied in a “blanket” manner to the entire class of soldiers impacted.
That is Pentagon thinking.
Bottom Line It, Big Red Car
Somebody in the Pentagon at the Secretary of Defense level needs to call the President of the United States and make this problem go away. Now.
If we can take in thousands of refugees from Syria, we can take care of our veterans. Hell, treat them like refugees, why not?
That’s called leadership and it doesn’t apply just to ensuring there are transgender Marines. It means taking care of our soldiers when you trick fuck them into re-enlisting.
Get on the ball, y’all.
Four Star Generals
Hey, a special shout out to Four Star Generals — there are only seven Army 4-stars, four USMC 4-stars, and nine Air Force 4-stars.
You Army 4-stars need to have a cup of coffee, rent some cojones, and go see the Sec of Def and the President and get this sorted out.
I’m calling y’all out. If you don’t solve this problem, you should retire. Soldier up, Generals.
You know how everyone is always calling veterans “heroes” and praising them on Veterans Day and Memorial Day and the 4th of July? Well, treat this problem like Veterans Day. Put some of that hero stuff into handling this problem. The Pentagon caused it. The Pentagon needs to fix it. Hey, Commander in Chief, get in command, why don’t ya?
This is an obscenity.