National Guard Back from Iraq; Denied GI Bill Benefits

This is sick. Basically, national guard units were deployed for 729 days in Iraq–one day short to qualify them for their GI education benefits:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (NBC) — When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush’s surge.

1st Lt. Jon Anderson said he never expected to come home to this: A government refusing to pay education benefits he says he should have earned under the GI bill.

“It’s pretty much a slap in the face,” Anderson said. “I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership… once again failing the soldiers.”

Anderson’s orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

“Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month,” Anderson said.

That money would help him pay for his master’s degree in public administration. It would help Anderson’s fellow platoon leader, John Hobot, pay for a degree in law enforcement.

“I would assume, and I would hope, that when I get back from a deployment of 22 months, my senior leadership in Washington, the leadership that extended us in the first place, would take care of us once we got home,” Hobot said.

Both Hobot and Anderson believe the Pentagon deliberately wrote orders for 729 days instead of 730. Now, six of Minnesota’s members of the House of Representatives have asked the Secretary of the Army to look into it — So have Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman.

Klobuchar said the GI money “shouldn’t be tied up in red tape,” and Coleman said it’s “simply irresponsible to deny education benefits to those soldiers who just completed the longest tour of duty of any unit in Iraq.”

EDIT: Govt reacts!

6 thoughts on “National Guard Back from Iraq; Denied GI Bill Benefits

  1. Anonymous

    THE DISILLUSIONEDRemember, Mommy,I´m off to get Sadaami,So send me a salami…–Tom Lehrer (emended)They said that I was fighting for my country and I was,But now I merely feel like such a fool:My countrymen did not support my mission or my cause,And I was just unwittingly a tool.Those we supposed we went to help despised us even more,Yet scores of cruelties couldn´t make them like us,And we returned the feeling–move me over by the door,I like “the kind old sun” and blooming ficus.Read me “Futility” that I might drink the bitter dregs,I hear the words and feel the sunlight´s warm,Now my remorse runs like a millipede on all its legs,But I asked God to keep me safe from harm.The Government has put me in a slum with all the rest,A seedy place where no one gives a damn–So different from the words with which a youth was wooed, caressed,Which is the reason I´m in such a jam.Prior to my enlistment all the world was in my hands,My faith in God and Government intact,But now I see it merely was the worst of brigand bandsWhich sought my services, and that´s the fact.No, let me rest a while. The kind old sun will ease my pain,While propaganda tells me I am happy,Yet it was all a vanity for which my troop was slain,Myself condemned to this discomfort crappy.Remorse runs like a centipede but I no more can run,And bleeding hearts may like to bleed but tell me what they´ve done,Yet I, that served them in their greed and sacrificed my fun,What have I left, but life low-keyed, and pain beneath the sun?–I.M. Small

  2. Anonymous

    THE DISILLUSIONED

    Remember, Mommy,
    I´m off to get Sadaami,
    So send me a salami…
    –Tom Lehrer (emended)

    They said that I was fighting for my country and I was,
    But now I merely feel like such a fool:
    My countrymen did not support my mission or my cause,
    And I was just unwittingly a tool.

    Those we supposed we went to help despised us even more,
    Yet scores of cruelties couldn´t make them like us,
    And we returned the feeling–move me over by the door,
    I like “the kind old sun” and blooming ficus.

    Read me “Futility” that I might drink the bitter dregs,
    I hear the words and feel the sunlight´s warm,
    Now my remorse runs like a millipede on all its legs,
    But I asked God to keep me safe from harm.

    The Government has put me in a slum with all the rest,
    A seedy place where no one gives a damn–
    So different from the words with which a youth was wooed, caressed,
    Which is the reason I´m in such a jam.

    Prior to my enlistment all the world was in my hands,
    My faith in God and Government intact,
    But now I see it merely was the worst of brigand bands
    Which sought my services, and that´s the fact.

    No, let me rest a while. The kind old sun will ease my pain,
    While propaganda tells me I am happy,
    Yet it was all a vanity for which my troop was slain,
    Myself condemned to this discomfort crappy.

    Remorse runs like a centipede but I no more can run,
    And bleeding hearts may like to bleed but tell me what they´ve done,
    Yet I, that served them in their greed and sacrificed my fun,
    What have I left, but life low-keyed, and pain beneath the sun?

    –I.M. Small

  3. Anonymous

    I’m glad someone is trying to remedy this situation, because hearing things like this makes me so incredibly angry. The government lures people to sign up promising them all these glittering benefits (if they make it back alive) and then doesn’t have the fucking decency to live up to those promises (or to provide adequate health care/mental health services/familial support/etc) when these people put their lives on the line for a horrible decision that never should have come to pass. We should be ashamed and outraged.

  4. Anonymous

    I’m glad someone is trying to remedy this situation, because hearing things like this makes me so incredibly angry. The government lures people to sign up promising them all these glittering benefits (if they make it back alive) and then doesn’t have the fucking decency to live up to those promises (or to provide adequate health care/mental health services/familial support/etc) when these people put their lives on the line for a horrible decision that never should have come to pass. We should be ashamed and outraged.

  5. Anonymous

    This is why my mom doesn’t want my brother to join the Marines – because the fucking government doesn’t even take care of their own. Unbelievable.

  6. Anonymous

    This is why my mom doesn’t want my brother to join the Marines – because the fucking government doesn’t even take care of their own. Unbelievable.

Comments are closed.