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RustyBattleship
25 Jul 07,, 22:32
I don't know how to transfer the blog video, but it's worth reviewing. It sounds like a bunch of VA pencil-necked bean counters who have never worn a uniform don't know what the real world is like.

Thanks for Fighting in Iraq, Here Is Your Bill

Posted Jul 25th 2007 2:59AM by Jeff Hoard
Filed under: Iraq, Video

I wonder if this report from WCBSTV will leave you as angry as it did me.

Let's see if this brings up the video for you folks: Posts by Jeff Hoard at News Bloggers (http://newsbloggers.aol.com/bloggers/jeff-hoard/)

Former Army Specialist Rodriguez started getting bills for $700 for lost or damaged government property this summer. Although he was discharged some four years ago, bills recently arrived demanding payment, but giving no details on what or why -- nor do they offer a way to dispute the charges.

"For doing my job you're going to bill me?" Rodriguez said.

Remember 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV? He had to reimburse the U.S. Army $700 last year for body armor and other gear damaged after he was seriously wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

He was eventually reimbursed.

dave lukins
25 Jul 07,, 22:36
RustyB' this has got to be a candid Camera set-up:mad: Next they will be sent a bill for the flights to Iraq or Afghanistan...whatever you do don't order the meals on board:biggrin: $$$$$$

omon
25 Jul 07,, 22:50
that isn,t a way to treat a war vet. i hope it was a mistake, or should i bill uncle Sam for a few boresnakes i sent to my friend in iraq(he says the 4 piece cleaning rod he was issued is pos).

dave lukins
25 Jul 07,, 23:01
that isn,t a way to treat a war vet. i hope it was a mistake, or should i bill uncle Sam for a few boresnakes i sent to my friend in iraq(he says the 4 piece cleaning rod he was issued is pos).

Oman good point, maybe I'll senf the PM a bill for Boots,socks , undewear..edible food etc. that I have sent my Son over the years to Iraq Afghanistan Bosnia and the Falklands and I can assure you it's a tad more than $700:)

As for the Issued kit we won't even go there..it's a joke:mad:

RustyBattleship
26 Jul 07,, 00:43
RustyB' this has got to be a candid Camera set-up:mad: Next they will be sent a bill for the flights to Iraq or Afghanistan...whatever you do don't order the meals on board:biggrin: $$$$$$

I wish it was a joke. If somebody here with more computer savvy than I can find that video blog and download it, you will see it is a legitimate news report and that hundreds of soldiers are being billed for over a million dollars.

We should send those jerks in the VA who are sending out the bills over to Iraq. Fit them out in full uniforms, helmets, body armor, etc. Then send them on patrol. But tell them if their body armor stops an insurgent's bullet, or they tear a hole in their BDU's diving for cover in a mortar attack that they have to pay for the damaged equipment.

RustyBattleship
26 Jul 07,, 00:48
Hopefully this will bring up the video: Posts by Jeff Hoard at News Bloggers (http://newsbloggers.aol.com/bloggers/jeff-hoard/)

Stan187
26 Jul 07,, 00:53
We should send those jerks in the VA who are sending out the bills over to Iraq. Fit them out in full uniforms, helmets, body armor, etc. Then send them on patrol. But tell them if their body armor stops an insurgent's bullet, or they tear a hole in their BDU's diving for cover in a mortar attack that they have to pay for the damaged equipment.

Better yet, just have the guys at the VA sign the bills with name and contact info. That way, they can send out all the bills they want, but won't be surprised when a soldier and his friend *** whooping show up on his doorstep.

entropy
26 Jul 07,, 13:34
And what if they refuse to pay? I would.

Shek
26 Jul 07,, 14:08
I'll run against the grain here to an extent.

Property accountability and responsibility is a necessary evil. Material readiness is a huge component of combat readiness, and having to pay for stuff you damage/lose/waster because of your own negligence is a necessary incentive structure to prevent guys from thinking "anything goes" in combat.

The VA is absolutely not the bad guy here. The administrative actions that result in the bills are conducted at the company level with supervision at the battalion level. The VA is merely the middleman that must follow up when a soldier has been discharged, but the responsibility still lies at the battalion level to get the "billing" right.

Any anger should be directed at the supply SGTs, company XOs, company commanders, company 1SGs, and their battalion level counterparts who fail these soldiers who get notices to pay for equipment lost or damaged through normal wear and tear during combat operations (and not negligence). These are the individuals who failed these discharged soldiers receiving bogus bills. However, the Department of the Army needs to get involved to correct cases where the chain of command has failed their own soldier.

Shek
26 Jul 07,, 14:09
And what if they refuse to pay? I would.

Then a collection action is taken against your tax withholdings. Uncle Sam will get his money whether its the easy or hard way.

entropy
26 Jul 07,, 14:12
Then a collection action is taken against your tax withholdings. Uncle Sam will get his money whether its the easy or hard way.

So is there a way to correct this? What if the supply staff will claim they know nothing and refuse to help?

RustyBattleship
26 Jul 07,, 22:34
Shek: You are absolutey correct. You must be a JAG lawyer.

However that is only passing the buck. Watch the video closely and the VA is fully incompetent in the fact that they do not tell the ex GI what equipment was damaged or missing nor do they offer any information of how or to whom the veteran can dispute the charges.

If you are charged in violating anything, even the UCMJ must tell you what wrong you are being accused of.

Shek
27 Jul 07,, 02:38
Shek: You are absolutey correct. You must be a JAG lawyer.

However that is only passing the buck. Watch the video closely and the VA is fully incompetent in the fact that they do not tell the ex GI what equipment was damaged or missing nor do they offer any information of how or to whom the veteran can dispute the charges.

If you are charged in violating anything, even the UCMJ must tell you what wrong you are being accused of.

Rusty,

I am not a JAG lawyer :) I spent 18 months as an S-4 spent processing dozens of investigations into lost or damaged property, and 18 months as a company commander where I was signed for millions of dollars of Army property. When one's checkbook is collateral, one pays attention to the regulations ;)

That being said, these incidents do not fall within the scope of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There is no crime accusation here, no judicial or non-judicial punishment involved. This is strictly an administrative procedure and is covered under the purview of AR 735-5 (http://www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r735_5_d20050228.pdf). According to proper procedure, his unit should have sent him paperwork to which he could have responded. It is possible that an unscrupulous staff officer (a S-4) never did that and just processed the investigation instead. At this point, since he was discharged, the VA could simply have a notice saying for them to try and collect x amount of dollars.

So, while I don't know the full procedure on the collection end, it could very well be that the VA is solely like a payment collection agency that doesn't know why x amount of dollars is owed, just that it is owed. So, to target the VA may be unfair, although there was clearly a breakdown at the unit level, and the system isn't setup to short circuit and fix cases like this where the unit is at fault.

RustyBattleship
27 Jul 07,, 04:04
Shek:
If I'm ever asked who would be the best person to investigate and straighten out this mess, I'm putting your name in.

Thanks for the detailed info and your background of expertise. But the lack of equipment description and lack of dispute procedures as given (or not given) are just setting up the VA (and maybe the Military itself) for a lawsuit on harrassment.

Agreed, the unit commanders should have handled it. But they didn't.

Agreed, the unit commanders know what equipment was lost or damaged.

But that information was not passed on to the VA billing department and further accents an incompetence of the unit commanders and a lackadasial attitude of the VA to merely pass on the bill rather than attempting to validate it.

I know, I know. Damn paperwork. I had to pay for a 1/2" combination wrench that was missing out of my tool box when I transferred to another unit. It's probably still underneath a 500hp Cadillac Continental engine in an old M-41 tank. It was just not worth the trouble to pull an entire engine for one wrench.

dave lukins
27 Jul 07,, 22:53
Where does the Quatermaster come into this equation?..Is he/she not indeed responsible for all Unit Equiptment Issue? I know the "Buck Stops here"(no pun intended) with COs and CoCommanders, but the "missing" Stores must be replaced at some point, ergo..who pays for it??:confused:

RustyBattleship
27 Jul 07,, 23:23
Where does the Quatermaster come into this equation?..Is he/she not indeed responsible for all Unit Equiptment Issue? I know the "Buck Stops here"(no pun intended) with COs and CoCommanders, but the "missing" Stores must be replaced at some point, ergo..who pays for it??:confused:

Obviously that's where the chain of command has broken down. Shek is perfectly correct that somebody has to be responsible for equipment lost through carelessness or damaged through misuse or negligence.

But HOW the equipment got lost or damaged is another thing. That's the problem here. The equipment is not identified. Therefore there is no way of knowing if it got damaged or abandoned in a hot combat situation.

Read that link again and you will notice that there was a case some time back when an ex-GI was billed. He paid the bill but protested and checking the records his body armor was damaged when he got hit by a mine. He was reimbursed, but this should not have happened and it's going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money researching these claims and either validate them or cancel them.

Maxor
09 Aug 07,, 20:53
This is very tounge in check here so a bit of an advance warning.


Last time I went through military training (admitadly a few years ago now.) We were instructed to be aware of our surroundings and pay attention to detail. I seem to also remember some nco as well as a couple of breifings mentioning don't drive over or step on mines. Now I don't recall all the details of every breifing word for word but I believe that disobeying standing orders from a superior was considered to be your fault, and therefore negligence. Now I also seem to remember that you couldn't be held responible for enemyy actions but seems open for interitation.

Albany Rifles
14 Aug 07,, 14:11
Where does the Quatermaster come into this equation?..Is he/she not indeed responsible for all Unit Equiptment Issue? I know the "Buck Stops here"(no pun intended) with COs and CoCommanders, but the "missing" Stores must be replaced at some point, ergo..who pays for it??:confused:

In the American Army, the company commander signs for all of the property in his company from the property book officer. The property book officer is warrant officer with years of experience and technical know how in the realm of property accountability. The quartermaster (or the S4 whcich Shek referred to) does not have responsibility for the property; he has staff oversight to make sure everything the unit needs is available and advises the commanders on all supply and maintenace matters.

When a commander signs for all of his gear (that would be every vehicle, weapon, tool, radio, etc) he furhter sub hand receipts it to his platoon leaders and sections sergeants. Usually all gear is assigned a by name responsibility to the user level...i.e., the machine gunner signs for the tripod, T&E and carry bag, etc.; the mechanic his general mechanics tool box, etc.

Assigning responsibility down to the lowest level of use is one of th eways to make sure gear is cared for....you break it, you buy it. Now a commander can conduct an investigation into the who, what, why and how. If it is fair wear and tear then it is written off as the cost of doing business. However, if it is seen that PFC Joe Bagofdonuts was negligent in the care of his gear, then you have to pay up to the tune of up to a months pay (unless it is a weapon, then you get to buy the whole thing!)

So short story made long, if it is a low cost item, the soldier has money deducted from pay and then the unit purchases a new item to replace the old one...if it is fair wear and tear repalcement comes out of the Army budget.

Like Shek, I was a battalion S4 and mechanized infantry company commander (24 & 18 months). I also was a brigade S4 for a year. Of course that was 20 years ago unlike young Shek.:)

And currently I am fielding the Army's new property book system to all of those property book officers.