National Guard Stiffs Soldiers

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The Massachusetts National Guard Stiffed Soldiers for Expenses After 9/11

The Massachusetts National Guard acknowledged Friday it failed to reimburse some Soldiers for expenses they incurred on security assignments after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The audit that revealed the error is ongoing, and the number of Soldiers owed money and the amount of money involved are not known.

The error was disclosed in a court hearing on a federal lawsuit filed by four Soldiers who say they were not reimbursed for thousands of dollars they spent on gas, food and lodging when they protected sites such as Logan International Airport starting in 2001.

“Indeed some of the force protection Soldiers may have been entitled to but did not receive the travel and per-diem reimbursement,” Danielson said. “Everyone who is entitled to that and didn’t receive it will be notified.”….

     

He said an administrative error resulted in some Soldiers using incorrect paperwork. He added that it wasn’t known whether the plaintiffs are among the Soldiers who are owed money.

In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Quinlivan argued that the case, which also names the U.S. Department of Defense as a defendant, should be dismissed and handled instead in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

John Shek, an attorney for the guardsmen, argued that the case belongs in U.S. District Court because they are seeking not just monetary damages, but a finding that the guardsmen are entitled to have their expenses paid and an order that the guard must reimburse them.

U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns did not immediately rule and said he may wait until the Guard finishes auditing the records of all guardsmen mobilized since Sept. 11, 2001.

One of the plaintiffs, Steven Littlefield, 24, said he paid between $15,000 and $16,000 out of his pocket for food and housing after he was assigned to protective duty at Otis Air Force Base from May 2002 to March 2004.

“Everybody’s upset,” Littlefield said. “The $16,000 could have gone to pay bills I’m still paying now.”

The lawsuit claims the Soldiers’ requests for compensation were repeatedly denied, and eventually their commanding officers told the Soldiers they could be taken off their missions if they didn’t stop asking.


http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,108799,00.html

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