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Chappell writes: "In most cases, when an employer pays a signing bonus to attract new workers, that payment is understood to be essentially unrecoverable. But the Pentagon has a different understanding - and it's ordering the California National Guard to claw back thousands of dollars paid to soldiers who re-enlisted to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The Pentagon is seeking millions of dollars from nearly 10,000 current or former soldiers in the California National Guard, saying they weren't eligible for re-enlistment bonuses. Here, soldiers from the state's guard force are seen in 2010, resting during transport in northeastern Afghanistan. (photo: Brennan Linsley/AP)
The Pentagon is seeking millions of dollars from nearly 10,000 current or former soldiers in the California National Guard, saying they weren't eligible for re-enlistment bonuses. Here, soldiers from the state's guard force are seen in 2010, resting during transport in northeastern Afghanistan. (photo: Brennan Linsley/AP)

US Soldiers Told to Repay Thousands in Signing Bonuses From Height of War Effort

By Bill Chappell, NPR News

24 October 16


n most cases, when an employer pays a signing bonus to attract new workers, that payment is understood to be essentially unrecoverable. But the Pentagon has a different understanding — and it's ordering the California National Guard to claw back thousands of dollars paid to soldiers who re-enlisted to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And in many cases, an employer would also have a tough time arguing that decade-old lapses in its own oversight should trigger wage garnishments and tax liens against its workers. But again, this is the U.S. military, and its officials say the law requires them to reclaim the overpayments.

That's the gist of a report by The Los Angeles Times, which says nearly 10,000 soldiers are now scrambling to pay back signing bonuses that helped the Pentagon cope with the task of using an all-volunteer service to fight two prolonged international conflicts.

In addition to doling out cash for re-enlistment, the Pentagon offered student loan repayments. The incentives were seen as crucial to the military's effort to keep its ranks flush, but auditors say the rules should have limited the largest payments to certain skill areas — and that in the rush to staff the war effort, the bonuses were given out too liberally, the L.A. Times reports.

Responding to the newspaper's story Sunday, the California National Guard points out that the repayments are part of a federal program run by the National Guard Bureau and the Department of the Army.

The state military service says:

"The California National Guard does not have the authority to unilaterally waive these debts. However, the California National Guard welcomes any law passed by Congress to waive these debts.

"Until that time, our priority is to advocate for our Soldiers through this difficult process."

In its statement, the service adds that its adjutant general, Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, created an assistance center that has helped some of its soldiers retain $37 million "of original bonus payments."

The problem of improper use of military troop-level incentives isn't limited to California — but the state has emerged as a focal point because of two factors: the large size of its guard force, and a history of overpayments.

A scandal over the California National Guard's use of bonus money was first unearthed in 2010, when the Sacramento Bee reported that its incentive program had misspent as much as $100 million. The program's onetime leader, former Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, was later sentenced to 30 months in prison, after pleading guilty to making $15 million in false claims.

When it was first discovered, that scandal was deemed "war profiteering" and was said to have benefited guard members who hadn't logged any combat duty; high-ranking officers were mentioned. But in the years since, lower-ranking service members have complained about garnished checks and a prolonged review process, saying they've done nothing wrong.

With the work of 42 auditors who reviewed the California cases now complete, the repayments are back in the spotlight — and service members and veterans, as well as members of the public, have been venting their anger.

On the California guard's Facebook page, several people hijacked a post about training to comment on the bonus repayments, with one man writing, "The officials who screwed over our service members need to do the right thing and pay back the money. DISGUSTING."

And after the guard responded to the Times story Monday, a commenter criticized its stance, writing, "Meanwhile vets are suffering while one bureaucracy waits to 'welcome' another bureaucracy to take responsibility and force it to do the right thing. Pathetic."

Revelations about fraud and mismanagement in the Pentagon's retention program emerged after the program's budget swelled between 2000 and 2008 — when the Defense Department went from spending $891 million for selective re-enlistment bonuses to spending $1.4 billion on them, according to a 2010 research paper by the RAND defense institute. By the end of that period, the military was also spending $625 million yearly to pay enlistment bonuses.

It's not unusual for signing bonuses to have strings attached. But in the civilian world, conditions for repayment are often limited to cases where an employee spends less than a year in their new job. In the case of the California National Guard, soldiers who say they held up their end of the contract — serving the required three- or six-year re-enlistment period — are being told to repay a key incentive.

One of them is Robert Richmond, who has begun an online petition that calls for the Army to "stop stealing back signing bonuses 10 years later."

Richmond says he signed the contract in good faith, and in his petition, he describes a scenario that's reminiscent of the recent Wells Fargo cross-selling scandal, saying that a lower-ranking figure has been punished for committing fraud that was motivated at least in part by a need to meet targets set by her superiors.

Richmond also appears in the L.A. Times story; here's a sample from his petition:

"Like many other soldiers, I honorably completed my contract in 2012 and two years later they sent me a letter stating I had to pay the money back. Each contract has a different excuse. They stated the reason I was not eligible for the contract was because I had over 20 years of service at the time. I had originally signed up more than 20 years prior, but had breaks in service and only had 15 credible years of service, not 20. Although at the time, they informed me I was eligible for a bonus, now they are saying I was not."

Like other veterans who are refusing to pay up, Richmond is now incurring interest on the repayment amount.

In its General Rules about the recovery of pay and bonuses, the Department of Defense states, "As a general rule, repayment will not be sought if the member's inability to fulfill the eligibility requirements is due to circumstances determined reasonably beyond the member's control."

But after dozens of auditors reviewed its system that had paid soldiers bonuses without determining their eligibility, the California National Guard's veterans started getting repayment notices.

"People like me just got screwed," a 42-year-old veteran tells the Times.

That veteran, former Army Capt. Christopher Van Meter, fought in Iraq. He tells the newspaper he refinanced his mortgage to repay $25,000 in re-enlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments.

Another veteran — former Army Master Sgt. Susan Haley, who served in Afghanistan and spent more than 25 years in the service — tells the newspaper that she's now sending the Pentagon $650 each month to repay $20,500 in bonuses.

"I feel totally betrayed," Haley says.

To put those dollar figures in perspective, we can look at the Army's payment and retention policy — specifically, a summary of its Selective Reenlistment Bonus program that was laid out early in 2006:

"The objective of the SRB program is to increase the number of reenlistments in critical MOSs [Military Occupational Specialty] that do not have adequate retention levels to man the career force. Although Department of Defense policy permits SRB payments of up to $45,000.00, soldiers may be paid bonuses up to six times their monthly basic pay at discharge, times the number of years of additional obligated service, or $20,000.00, whichever is less."

While some veterans are working to repay the money, others are filing appeals, engaging in what's likely to be a prolonged fight against the service to which they once belonged. California National Guard officials tell the Times that they've been helping veterans through the appeals process.

"We'd be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts," Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy commander of the California National Guard, tells the Times. "We just can't do it. We'd be breaking the law."

One of the earliest reviews of the Army's post-Iraq invasion bonus system came in 2007, when the Defense Department's inspector general examined the program called the Reenlistment, Reclassification, and Assignment System (RETAIN). But at the time, the central issue wasn't whether too much money was being paid, but rather whether the service was paying out bonuses quickly enough. your social media marketing partner


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+37 # grandlakeguy 2016-10-24 14:48
And yet during the chaos in Iraq over six billion dollars in cash ($100 bills on forklift pallets) "disappeared" and no prosecution or real investigation.
+33 # laborequalswealth 2016-10-24 15:05
Pretty much SOP these days, isn't it? Billions squandered and no one even shrugs. Ditto with Wall Street bail out, prison sentences, etc. etc. etc.

Anyone wanna bet on how long this corrupt empire can keep the balls in the air? BRICS is on its way. China and Russia are having none of our bombast. And the plutocracy of America see us and the rest of the world as nothing more than suckers to be fleeced.

My husband has a new bumper sticker on his car. It reads:
"Bring back the guillotine. It worked for the French."
+6 # Patriot 2016-10-24 23:12
Bravo! Please convey my respects to Himself!
+18 # Capn Canard 2016-10-24 20:57
Come on grandlakeguy, of all people you should understand that the wealthy will stop at nothing to take any wealth you may have generated. It is their M.O.

They have no hesitation in screwing us all over, only the wealthy are forewarned and will not be so taxed, with all of our tradeable "value" being immediately gleaned from the carcass.

And didn't Chris Hedges say that this would be horrifying?
Yes he did.

Well, it is likely to only get worse...
Stay strong.
+3 # HowardMH 2016-10-25 09:55
All you guys are missing the MAIN POINT. These volunteers accepted the money and some of them lost a leg, an arm, came home mental problems that will last the rest of their life, AND some of them DIED on the battle field.

Now the government wants the bonus money back -- you got to be shitting me!!! How they going to go about getting it from those that were killed? Are they going after the kids who lost a father for the bonus money?

I bet the volunteer level drops rather quickly after this if those thinking of joining have more than 2 brain cells.
+26 # laborequalswealth 2016-10-24 15:02
$1.4 billion on signing bonuses? That's about 12 HOURS of the Pentagon's profligate spending. (They ADMIT to a budget of 2/3 of a TRILLION $$$ A YEAR.)

At least the bonuses put cash in the hands of working Americans instead of bloating the comp packages, Golden Parachutes and pension funds of the MIC's CEO's, lobbyists and toadies - including member of Congress, who are pretty much ALL on the take from the military death machine.
+1 # economagic 2016-10-25 20:53
My first thought was that it couldn't be that much (12 hours), but I ran the numbers and that's about right.
+20 # ReconFire 2016-10-24 19:11
I'm surprised their not charging them interest. ( Hope the Pentagon's not reading this or they might)
That $1.4 billion could buy 1/3 to 1/2 a wing on our fine F-35.
Funny how it's always in their favor, I went 9 mo. without being paid when I was in the military, they "lost" my pay records.
+14 # NAVYVET 2016-10-25 06:48
This article says they ARE charging them interest on anything unpaid! As a veteran (who never was offered any kind of bonus) I am outraged at the meanness of this! Most of these re-enlistees were kids who got out, found no jobs (remember, this was Dubya's era, complete with his 2007 depression), and felt that they had nowhere to go.

Since they were National Guard they were triply screwed by Bush's wars. Obviously, one lash to the back was promising bonus money, then stealing it back without help from this greedy Congress, almost none of whom had sons or daughters in these wars.

But long before that, the National Guard was formed to be a home militia, to help out with internal emergencies. They've sometimes been misused against fellow citizens (as at Kent State & Jackson State), but more often they do benign service, helping rescue people in floods, wildfires, etc., and fighting those fires. The second lash, drawing blood this time, was that King George II was THE FIRST PRESIDENT TO ORDER THE GUARD TO SERVE IN OVERSEAS COMBAT SINCE WORLD WAR II! Not many know that. The third lash, which brought death, was that most weren't trained for combat, or equipped with the proper clothing or armored vehicles--certa inly not in something as ill-planned and led as the US invasion of Iraq, where not even the regular Army had these.

It's way past time time for another Coxey's Army, veterans! (If you don't know what Coxey's Army was, look it up online.)
0 # Patriot 2016-10-30 09:46
Navyvet, commissioned officers are NOT paid bonuses. After their initial obligation is completed, they can leave at any time. And officer pay ALWAYS has been much higher than enlisted pay. As a retired career officer, you already should know these facts.
+16 # Capn Canard 2016-10-24 20:48

The Wealthy are recapturing their hard earned profits!


This has been all in their long term plan.

Soon they will come for your state parks, city parks, your homes, your schools, and everything else--including your first born.

They want a pound of flesh from every American... except the flesh of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

And this is just the start.

Wake up, America.

As a post mortem the military is screwing itself as many veterans are likely to join forces with like minded to oppose these unnecessary measures to save money for the wealthy interests.

Now we can welcome veterans into the ranks of the poor.

Need I remind you that this does not bode well for the empire of Donald J. Clinton and Hillary Rodham Trump?

So sad. :(

0 # Patriot 2016-10-30 10:22
Welcome into the ranks of the poor? You mean as if they hadn't already BEEN there? Guardsmen who were activated took an immediate cut in pay, in most cases, to 50%: military service for junior enlisted personnel does NOT even equate to minimum wage! And, no, their employeers did NOT help to make up tha gap, and did NOT re-employ them once they were FINALLY released from service.

I belong to Navy Federal Credit Union, which has 6 MILLION members. Those poor Guardsmen defaulted on their auto and mortgage and their kids' college loans left and right--NATURALL Y, having had their income CUT IN HALF. I asked what NFCU was doing to help, and the man I was talking to said, very quietly, just writing them off. I was very grateful to know that the rest of us members were simply swallowing that loss. It was all we could do to hel, although it was little enough.

Then, AFTER about 180 days of service, WHILE STILL IN A COMBAT ZONE, they were denied the status that ALWAYS has accompanied 6 months of active duty: being considered, for purposes of pay and benefits--such as VA benefits--to have been active duty personnel from their first day on active duty.
0 # Patriot 2016-10-30 10:22
THEN their tours were extended from 12 months IN A COMBAT ZONE to 18 months IN A COMBAT ZONE, WHILE THEY WERE ON COMBAT DUTY. Since neither Shrub nor that criminal Cheney had done military service--Shrub was a deserter, remember? And Cheney was a draft dodger who "had better things to do"--they had no idea what their cavalier, unfeeling meanness did to those men and their families. MEANWHILE, Walter Reed was crammed to the walls and without any of the resources it needed to deal with the wave of amputees, often blinded, and victims of PTSD--which once was called shell-shock and combat fatigue.

They also served without body armor or even properly armored vehicles, which is why SO MANY were killed or injured. Those with head injuries or PTSD were routinely returned to combat. Even medically retired persons from as long as 20 YEARS ago were dragged back into COMBAT DUTY.

AND their term of active duty was extended INDEFINITELY; in other words, they COULDN'T get out!

Have I not often told you that we have NEVER so abused our armed forces? Do you understand NOW why I am so angry every time you disparage the military? Call them hired killers? Blame the brutality of police on VETERANS? Dont you pay attention to the rates of suicide among veterans, and to the rates of rape and other sexual assault of our servicewomen?
0 # Patriot 2016-10-30 10:23
You fail utterly to distinguish between ENLISTED personnel and junior officers and SENIOR OFFICERS, OF WHOM WE HAVE TOO MANY--far too large a percentage of whom have NEVER seen combat duty, although most have taken great care to be present somewhere in a rear area, so they'll earn the combat service ribbons that somehow manage to make them competitive (for PROMOTIONS) with officers who have ACTUALLY SERVED AND SWEATED AND FROZEN in COMBAT.

Then came dear Michelle Obama paid her compassionate visits to the families of our people, all concerned about their welfare. HA! A presidential visit, or a visit by his wife, creates an upheaval for an ENTIRE installation, because everything must be perfect, so the brass will look good. And, be assured, the VIPs NEVER get to talk to the people who REALLY have a grievance or those who REALLY need help!

So, stop making briittle, clever remarks, and SOUNDING outraged and righteous. Write to Obama and your three Congressmen TODAY and DEMAND that they out a stop to any attempt to recover those bonuses, and that every penny that's already been recovered be returned immediately, WITH INTEREST. Some of those repayments were made by taking out second mortgages and holding down second or third jobs.

Your righteous indignation doesn't cut it. I wrote to the president last week. Now YOU do somethng to HELP. TODAY!
+26 # librarian1984 2016-10-24 21:00
Hey this can't be right -- America LOVES its veterans!

Remember how soldiers' relatives had to buy them bullet proof vests? Talk about shock and awe!

Remember the vehicles that weren't armored? D!ck & W and Rummy paying lip service to soldiers but letting them get electrocuted in their showers? Hiding the bodies returning home, let the wounded languish in horrible conditions at the VA hospitals?

Thank goodness Obama and the Dems came to the rescue to stop the abuse ... oh wait, no they didn't.

I guess the military can't afford to be civil or generous to the people whose lives are actually on the line since they only get HALF of our discretionary budget.

It is just this kind of bs that might give us a chance in getting the military and police to stop supporting the monsters who are running this surreal sh!tfest.
+20 # jsluka 2016-10-24 22:38
And don't even mention the massive failures of the Veteran's Administration, particularly with regard to the wounded and PTSD: "In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were committing suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. Some sources suggest that this rate may be undercounting suicides."
Soldiers: Use 'em and throw 'em away when you're done with them. Suckers.
+2 # randrjwr 2016-10-25 18:42
Quoting,in part: "Remember how soldiers' relatives had to buy them bullet proof vests? Talk about shock and awe!"

Hey, librarian, shouldn't that be "Shock and 'Aw shit'?"
+17 # dotlady 2016-10-24 23:01
Who would go to war for such a country?
+14 # librarian1984 2016-10-25 05:23
People who are poor or want to get a college education .. oh, THAT's why we don't care .. none of the 1%'s kids are there.
+12 # Patriot 2016-10-24 23:06
My letter to the President:

Mr. President, I've just read the first article I've seen that describes the effort to recoup enlistment and re-enlistment incentives paid to National Guardsmen during the past decade or more.

I'm appealing directly to you, because you're Comminder-in-Ch ief of our Armed Forces. I grew up an Army brat, the daughter of a career Master Sergeant, spent almost a decade in the Navy myself, and married a career Navy Chief Petty Officer. Every man and several women of my closest family served in the Armed Forces. I've seen more than one recoupment and know what damage such actions can cause, not only to individuals but to entire units--not only financial damage, but also damage to morale and good order and discipline.
+15 # Patriot 2016-10-24 23:06
We've made singular demands of the men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and especially of National Guardsmen. Never before have we snatched people from civilian life, almost without notice, and held them for indefinite periods of service and repeated tours in a combat zone. Yet our Guardsmen have served faithfully, despite the fact that, for some, the reduction in their income nearly bankrupted them and their families. Their tours were involuntarily extended WHILE THEY WERE SERVING IN A COMBAT ZONE--a rcircumstance I can't recall ever having been imposed on any other group of military personnel. They didn't serve, as Guardsmen are intended to do, to "hold the line" while regular Army personnel were being trained to relieve and replace them: They shouldered the entire burden of combat.

To demand now, in some cases a full decade AFTER they completed their end of the contract, that they return their incentive pay, is unconscionable. Is the Treasury so depleted that such action is all that can keep it afloat? Enlisted personnel have no way to ascertain exactly what monies they may or may not be entitled to at any given point--and they certainly have no way to establish whether a payment made to them is or isn't legally tendered.
+13 # Patriot 2016-10-24 23:10
My arguments and pleas must be nearly incoherent; I'm so outraged that I can scarecly think, let alone marshal coherent thought.

Mr. President, as Commander-in-Ch ief, you have absolute authority to call a halt to any attempt to recover from the recipients what may have been illegally-made payments. Please do so at once, and order any funds which have been recovered returned immediately. Pursue those who did wrong, not men we already owe more than we can ever repay!

Readers, please join me in insisting that the President intervene on behalf of our National Guardsmen. What is being done to them is wrong--and, in today's economy, could well destroy their financial stability for years to come. Please, add your voices to mine!
+9 # lorenbliss 2016-10-25 01:04
@Patriot: You start a petition, I'll damn sure sign it. (U.S. Regular Army enlistee, active duty 1959-1962 including 18 months service in Korea thanks to the Berlin Crisis, reserves until 1965, honorably discharged.)
+5 # librarian1984 2016-10-25 05:27
Start a petition, Patriot. I'll sign.
+4 # NAVYVET 2016-10-25 08:52
I'd join in any action to redress these young people who now aren't so young and are likely to be out of a job, & perhaps a home.

And, even at 80, not as able to walk as I once was, I'd consider joining a new Coxey's Army. It is obviously needed.
+1 # economagic 2016-10-25 20:49
I'm in.
0 # Patriot 2016-10-30 10:56
Go to and sign ALL of the petitions on this subject--and any others that strike your fancy.

Pass the link along to others, please.

Then give yourself a treat and read the replies to petitions at

Have your Pepto-Bismol handy.
+13 # lorenbliss 2016-10-25 01:13
The One Percenters and their Pentagon vassals who are behind this outrage need to remember what happened when Tsar Nicholas II pissed off most of the soldiers in the Russian Army and most of the sailors in the Russian Navy as well...

Veterans are NOT people to screw over.

Indeed the primary reason the military draft was ended was the huge fear by the One Percent and its Ruling Class the draft was training the revolution.

And now the pompous plutocrats are alienating the very soldiers they hired to keep themselves and their obscene wealth secure?


Maybe the Empire truly is teetering on the brink of collapse.
+2 # RMF 2016-10-25 10:27
I agree with your comment but believe a major factor in eliminating the draft was to reduce public debate and resistance regarding any impending aggressive action by the military -- having a volunteer army encourages many to tune out, knowing their kids won't have to go.
That was the lesson learned by the Pentagon lobby from the Viet Nam war resistance. The Pentagon lobby does not want it's hands tied by peaceniks or soccer moms.
+2 # lorenbliss 2016-10-25 15:23
@RMF: That too, but Nixon et al were truly terrified the country was on the brink of revolution.

See Christopher Hedges' piece on Heather Ann Thompson's book on Attica, which indicates the killings at Kent State University were ordered from on high for the same reason the murders of the protesting prisoners at Attica were ordered:

It has long been suspected, with strong indicative evidence, the orders for both atrocities came directly from Nixon.

One of the proofs is a detail known only by the era's working press -- that all wire-service transmission from Ohio [AP, UPI etc.] was terminated approximately three minutes BEFORE the Kent State shootings and not allowed to resume until approximately three hours afterward. Only federal military intervention -- a variation on what is known as "electronic countermeasures " to disrupt "enemy" communications -- could account for this aspect of the atrocity.

(No I am not forgetting the killings two weeks later at all-black Jackson State College, but those were more likely a local matter, yet another deadly expression of race hatred by Ku Klux Klan-infested police.)
+6 # 2016-10-25 07:13
The government is putting so much pressure on the Armed Forces (National Guard) to repay the bonuses that they truly deserve. What about those men and women who reenlisted were killed. Who is crying for them. By the way, what about the 6 billion dollars came up missing. No one in our government seem to know where the money went. The case was open and shut. They have the nerve to ask for money where men and women sacrificed their lives.
+6 # elizabethblock 2016-10-25 07:58
People should know that the contract that a soldier signs is binding on him, but is NOT binding on the army. He, or she, signs up for two or three years. But in the small print it says the army can make them stay in the army as long as it likes. It's called "stop-loss." (I think it was called something else in Tsarist Russia.)

"Yes, it's in the small print," I heard a war resister in Canada say. "But who reads the small print? unless your father is a lawyer. And if your father is a lawyer, why would you want to join the army?"
0 # Patriot 2016-10-30 10:27
Thanks, elizabethblock, for making this point.
+3 # johnmortl 2016-10-25 07:59
If you think these shenanigans are bad,it's child's play compared to what will happen if Killery is allowed to get her sweaty hands on the levers of power.
+6 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-10-25 08:00
The soldiers, most overused & with little financial resources of their own, signed in good faith & fulfilled their contract, but now they’re the Enemy & must be robbed retroactively. Logical, eh?
+1 # librarian1984 2016-10-25 09:30
This story is actually getting some msm play and, coming as it does right before an election, I imagine pols will be anxious to remedy this and tell voters again "See, we LOVE the veterans."
+4 # RMF 2016-10-25 10:22
Yet another reason to dump the volunteer army and return to a draft.
Not only does the draft provide better staffing for the military but also, and most importantly, energizes grass roots debate by the public on any proposed military aggression or hostility. As it is now many Americans just tune out because their "kids won't have to go." So a draft is "good for US democracy."
+4 # Ken Halt 2016-10-25 10:38
Time to bring back the draft, and I do mean universal conscription, no sons of the wealthy and well-connected exempt for any reason whatsoever! TPTB would be more careful about going to war if their loved ones were on the line.
0 # Patriot 2016-10-30 10:34
Fine, the draft has my whole-hearted support for all the reasons you've all given--provided it includes ALL citizens of eligible age, health, and mental capacity--both males and females! It still makes my skin crawl to have to face a Vietnam veteran--and I am married to one who served three tours there. Of all the things I was required to do during nine years of service, the one I most resented wasbeing required to wear the National Defense Ribbon. All I ever defended was the sanctity of a women's barracks! The men with whom I served went to Vietnam. Some never came home, and some came home bearing terrible scars, visible and invisible. I would not wish such shame on any other woman.
+3 # bubbiesue 2016-10-25 15:28
Trying to get those signing bonuses is about the most stupid thing I've heard of. It will backfire somewhere, unfortunately.

And I agree that we need universal conscription--h ave needed it for years.
+2 # lfeuille 2016-10-25 18:00
There a petition circulating from VoteVets to put an end to this. Public outcry about garnishing Social Security Payments to cover student loans led to an at least temporary suspension of the program. Maybe it will help.

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