Local Wounded Veteran Never Saw All Of His Promised Reenlistment Bonus - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/21/07- East Texas

Local Wounded Veteran Never Saw All Of His Promised Reenlistment Bonus

It spurred national debate and controversy when an injured veteran, Jordan Fox, said the Army demanded he repay 3,000 dollars of his enlistment bonus. In response today, the U.S. Army issued this statement, saying in part:

"It does not require repayment of any enlistment bonus when a soldier is separated because of a combat injury."

Yet one East Texas soldier, paralyzed in the Middle East, says he never even saw the last installment of his promised reenlistment bonus. He now has an ally on Capitol Hill joining his fight.

"That's not right. I mean, it's not like they're going out there and stepping in front of a bullet for the heck of it."

Tommy Guinn knows the violence and sacrifice of war all too well. A 14-year army veteran, his service abruptly ended in a helicopter accident in Pakistan left him paralyzed. He made it home to his family, but the military kept 1,000 dollars out of his re-enlistment bonus.

"It didn't sit well with me at first because I think they should have to pay me," said Guinn.  "It's not like I went out and got hurt just so I could get out of the military."

As part of Guinn's reenlistment he was promised 10,000 dollars. He got 5,000 up front, then 1,000 dollars a year for each year of service. But since he was injured with a year left on his contract, he says his final thousand dollars was never given. It's his story and that of countless others that have an East Texas congressman taking action.

"We intend to make a lot of noise until we fix this...it is outrageous."

U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert is co-sponsoring Bill 3793 to make sure all veterans collect every penny of their promised bonuses.

"Sometimes you have people make bonehead decisions at all levels of government," said Congressman Gohmert.  "Apparently this is one of those. We can fix it, we'll get a law passed."

"They're doing their job and that's what they got paid to do," said Guinn. "I think the military ought to meet that obligation too."

Congressman Gohmert says he's taking a strong stand to defend our injured veterans.

"It's not their fault they were responding and injured in the course of doing what they were asked to do."

Calling it an injustice to those who give so much, Congressman Gohmert hopes to shake-up and awaken a change in policy.

"I just thank God for these people willing to step up and defend these freedoms and liberties we're endowed with. We owe them a debt of gratitude and that shouldn't be met by putting a debt on them."

The U.S. Army says they encourage anyone who has a problem or issue on this, to call their "Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline." That number is 1-800-984-8523.

Courtney Lane, Reporting clane@kltv.com

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