A new report from the Government Accountability Office unearthed a host of horror stories involving the U.S. Army chasing ex-soldiers for allegedly unpaid bills.
The GAO report (PDF) tells of 900 soldiers who the Army claims owe $1.2 million. Many don't, but their lives have been ruined.
Army specialist Tyson Johnson of Mobile, Alabama lost a kidney and had shrapnel tear through his head after a mortar round exploded outside his tent. Needless to say his injuries left him unable to serve the third and final year of his commitment.
The Army demanded he repay the $2,700 enlistment bonus they had given him. When he failed to do so, the Army passed the debt on to bill collectors.
Soon Johnson's credit record was trashed, making it impossible for him to rent an apartment. He ended up living out of his car.
"Oh, man, I felt betrayed," Johnson said. "I felt like, oh, my heart dropped."
Brandy Taylor's unit was ambushed while she was serving in Iraq. She was quickly medically evacuated.
Oh, and they reported her AWOL. They soon came after her for bonuses she had rightfully earned.
"The Army awarded me a Purple Heart, the mayor gave me the key to my hometown and here was a terrible man from the collection agency hounding me and making me feel like a criminal," she told members of the House Government Reform Committee.
She too had her credit rating ruined, making her unable to get loans and ultimately forcing her to drop out of college.
Earlier this year came the story of 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook who had been billed for the body armor he lost when his arm was blown off. With any luck, the Army will someday learn to take care of its most valuable and most resource.
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