There was a lot of debate at that time, politicizing the orders. Many people pointing fingers, at whether or not this "padding of orders" was done intentionally to save money. Some thought it was a "typo". The media, however, turned it into some sort of us against them scenario AGAIN. Surprise.
Which, to some of those in The National Guard, was silly. Orders, have been written as such for a long time. Certain days on active duty mean, certain benefits. This is not news. This is how it works. Most National Guardsman can tell you why the orders are written as such. Certain numbers mean certain benefits are earned.
However, after 22 months, I think most of us simply wanted these brave men and women to get whatever they could. 22 months is a long time. Can you imagine, meeting your baby, at the age of 2? Or leaving a 3 year old to find them in kindergarten? Leaving a family owned business, for 22 months. We really owe these folks what they deserve. The have earned it in my book.
I hope if anything, this "order issue", may have brought into light, that the benefits for NG families need to be streamlined. As these eduction benefits, were confusing to read about, i can hardly imagine having to use them, and explain them to some liberal administration at a University. GI bill, REAP....it is a mess. Perhaps it can be simplified....
Also, I am sort of bewildered that no one noticed the orders before the return of the soldiers. This should have been noted "BY SOMEONE", almost immediately. (Like when the orders were WRITTEN, OR SIGNED, OR REVIEWED) by The Pentagon, The National Guard Bureau, The Governor, The Adjutant General for the state. A good reminder to look at the orders, and folks, call your officials, and remind them to do so for you as well!
Also I will note there was some criticism about the young Lt. who stood up and pointed this issue out. Some calling him a loudmouth for going to the media when he did. Frankly folks, I doubt if he went to the news right away. I am sure this young Lt. went through his proper chain of command, until he felt frustrated enough to call it out. A Lt. should go to the carpets for his men, a good Lt. should. If the media used his words to vilify the administration, well that is the stinking media, and I expect nothing less from them. But, to call someone a "whiner" after a 22 month deployment..... well that is just wrong.
Some things are just common sense....
Pentagon to Resolve Minn. Benefits Case
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
WASHINGTON (AP) — The defense secretary has committed to resolving a dispute over educational benefits so Minnesota National Guard soldiers soon can register for classes, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.
Geoff Morrell made the comment in a telephone interview following a conversation that Pentagon chief Robert Gates had with Rep. Tim Walz, a Minnesota Democrat and National Guard veteran.
Upon returning from Iraq this year, nearly half the soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division — one of the longest serving units — discovered they were ineligible for full education benefits under the GI Bill.
For some members, just one day of service prevented them from being eligible; all did qualify for some money.
The Army sent the case to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records. The board has declined to take up the soldiers as a group. Minnesota lawmakers have expressed concern that could make it harder to resolve the issue in time for next spring semester.
Following his conversation with Gates, Walz sent The Associated Press a statement saying the Defense Department has committed to resolving all cases within 10 days of receiving each soldier's paperwork.
Morrell said he did not know if Gates had committed to that timeline.
"As I understand it, the secretary's commitment is to have all this paperwork done in ample time so that these guardsmen can register for classes in time for the next semester beginning in January," he said. "The Army's prepared to deploy additional resources if necessary to make sure they get this done."
Good news. They deserve the benefits after all they've done.
It's my understanding from reading other reports that the dates were deliberately skewed so that benefits would not have to be paid. Also that orders are mis dated as are tours of duty, arrival times, and so on. This is like everything else in this government, incompetent people screw up and then everyone does everything possible to cover it up.
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