The commander of the California National Guard reportedly cannot locate more than 4,000 of the some 9,700 soldiers involved in the enlistment bonus scandal.
In a memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Maj. Gen. David Baldwin said the California National Guard needed help finding thousands of soldiers who received alleged improper bonuses or other benefits during the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan about 10 years ago. The bonuses were paid to entice more people to enlist during the height of the conflicts, a 2013 Inspector General’s report deemed some excessive.
Baldwin also added that most of the 9,700 current and former National Guard soldiers unknowingly receiver the incentives and enlisted “in good faith at a time of war,” according to the memo.
Despite Baldwin’s note, the Treasury Department had already tracked down some of the 4,000 soldiers long ago through tax returns and made them repay their bonuses. That sparked a firestorm of criticism toward the Pentagon from Congress. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the Pentagon demands “disgraceful.”
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Image courtesy of US Army