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OPINION RELEASE: Guardsman re-enlists, Pentagon kills bonus Officers from state try to restore $15,000 benefit

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  • We The People Constitutional Activism
    Rick Stanley Constitutional Activist Phone: 303-329-0481 E-mail: rick@stanley2002.org We the People Scoop 11/6/05
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 6, 2005
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      Rick Stanley
      Constitutional Activist
      Phone: 303-329-0481
      E-mail: rick@...

      We the People Scoop 11/6/05
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      OPINION RELEASE: Guardsman re-enlists, Pentagon kills bonus Officers from state try to
      restore $15,000 benefit

      STANLEY NOTE: More lies, deceipt and fraud from the government that has
      overthrown America from within.


      Subject: Guardsman re-enlists, Pentagon kills bonus Officers from state try to
      restore $15,000 benefit

      http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/247264_guardx05.html


      Saturday, November 5, 2005

      Guardsman re-enlists, Pentagon kills bonus
      Officers from state try to restore $15,000 benefit

      By SAM SKOLNIK zzz
      SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

      A Department of Defense decision to renege on war-time promises to
      pay bonuses to more than a dozen re-enlisting Washington National
      Guardsmen has sparked outrage from prominent elected officials and
      state National Guard officers working to rectify the situation.

      According to a state Guard spokesman, Maj. Phil Osterli, at least 15
      Washington National Guardsmen and women signed re-enlistment forms
      promising them a tax-free $15,000 bonus in return. Many of them were
      stationed in Iraq at the time, he said.

      But Pentagon officials have said in published reports that the
      bonuses were canceled because they duplicated other programs and were
      prohibited.

      Sgt. 1st Class Carl Latson is one of those in the Washington National
      Guard directly affected. The Spanaway man, a 13-year military veteran
      who said he has served both in Operation Desert Storm and in the
      current Iraq war, re-enlisted in January for another six-year term,
      which would have taken him close to retirement from the service.

      Latson, 35, said Friday that the bonus was a big incentive to
      re-enlist. At the time it was offered, he was serving in Iraq as an
      enlisted aide for a general at the Balad Army base near Baghdad.

      He signed a re-enlistment form Jan. 17, just after he took the oath
      from his commanding officer. "For a 6 year reenlistment/extension I
      will receive a total bonus of $15,000," reads the official Army
      National Guard form.

      After serving two years active duty with the Navy and the last 11
      years with the National Guard, Latson said, "I re-enlisted because
      the opportunity was there to finally get a bonus."

      Latson, who served in Iraq most recently from March 2004 to March
      2005, said he has been counting on the money to help buy a house and
      to support his 11-year-old daughter. He said he knows at least 10
      other National Guardsmen in the same boat.

      "It has made a significant impact on my life," said Latson. "For them
      to offer a bonus when we're at war, when we're risking our lives, and
      then to turn around and not pay it when we return is the wrong
      message to send to me, to any soldier. It's not fair."

      advertising
      The state Guard is fighting the Pentagon's sudden reversal on the
      issue. Osterli said the state Guard's recruiting and retention
      commander, Maj. John Sharrett, is in Washington, D.C., arguing to
      National Guard and Pentagon brass that the reversal is unwise and unfair.

      "We're clearly concerned about this issue and want to make sure these
      soldiers get what they deserve," said Osterli.

      Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is also lobbying Pentagon officials. She
      first learned that the bonus program had been scrapped this summer,
      according to The News Tribune of Tacoma. She has since written
      officials with the National Guard Bureau demanding an explanation.

      Latson has retained a lawyer, Mark Clausen of Seattle. Clausen said
      that for now he's working "up the chain of command" of the locally
      based military to see if he can find relief for his client that way,
      before pursuing other legal remedies.

      He began by sending a letter this week to Col. Michael McCaffree of
      the 81st Brigade Combat Team at Camp Murray in Tacoma, Latson's unit.
      The letter was copied to 14 other officers in Seattle and Tacoma.

      A Pentagon spokesman declined comment Friday.

      Latson said that regardless of whether he gets the money promised
      him, he's made one decision. He plans to quit the military long
      before retirement age.

      "I'm to the point now where I want to get out," he said. "I'm just
      really disappointed."
      P-I reporter Sam Skolnik can be reached at 206-448-8334 or
      samskolnik@....

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