If you’ve been following this story, I’d been deployed to Desert Storm with my active duty Army unit, and then the Reserves issued orders to mobilize me for them. I couldn’t exist in both systems, so the Army dropped my paycheck.
* Runs screaming from the room *
It was pretty scary not getting a paycheck, and I’d already been in the Army long enough to know this wasn’t going to be easy to fix. Probably only being declared dead would be worse. People were telling me that it might always be a problem and to save all the paperwork.
Now the Reserves and the Army are both military. This should be easy to fix. They’re both Army.
They’re actually separate systems. All the same parts, but the Army and Reserve do not talk to each other. The only place they seemed to talk was cutting off my paycheck.
I just needed to get off the Reserve books, so I started with them. They were deployed, and they had a rear detachment sergeant who pretty much didn’t care. That’s a big problem with the Reserves and paperwork, and also the National Guard. Saying it was dysfunctional would be giving them praise. People will say they’ll get to the paperwork next time, which is a month later, and then they go off on something else, and nothing ever gets done.
So I wandered around, trying to figure out how to fix this thing. I went to the Inspector General, which is like a watch dog for the military, but I ran into the same problem. The Army and the Reserves don’t talk. So no one could confirm that anyone had actually removed me from the rolls. My paycheck had been restarted, but I didn’t have any confidence that there wouldn’t be more problems coming.
Three months later …
My paycheck goes into accrual. They didn’t pay me, but the money’s not available to me. The Army is apparently trying to figure out why I’m in both the Reserves and the Army and the logic’s not entirely working.
This time I go to the legal beagles. Same problem. Things just don’t cross over from the two services. We’re all military! Why is this a problem? So a Sergeant Major gets involved. That’s one of the highest enlisted ranks, so we’re working our way up here. He’s able to get in contact with the right people and confirms that they’ve removed my name.
One year later …
Yeah, you didn’t really think it ended there, did you?
I got a bill from the Army in the mail. I stare at the number and I’m thinking that it sounds like the amount that was on the first paycheck that got eaten by this mess. Check it, and yup, that’s the one. So I send them an explanation of what happened along with a stack of paperwork, to prove I’m actually in the Army.
I still have the paperwork. You never know…
Next up will be “Lost in the woods with a Lieutenant,” so tune in, same military channel, same military time tomorrow.
Phew, what confusion! I guess red tape, bureaucracy are huge challenges the world over. hope these last few posts did not reopen old pain for you.
I think time has really helped. I couldn’t have done this 10 years ago.
Good lord is this the best we can do for our service members? I’m embarrassed that this is the way you are treated. The various entities “don’t talk to each other.” What a sad reflection on how bureaucracies (don’t) function.
Everyone’s got their rice bowl. DOD has been trying to fix it, but it seems to breed on its own.
Yes, I think people treat others the way they are treated, and it’s hard in a large unwieldy organization to right things quickly or consistently. You seem to have taken much of it in stride, as I suppose all have to learn to do. It still doesn’t make it a tolerable situation.
Ok, you are running a serial story, this April for the A to Z Challenge. Must come back to read the earlier chapters soon.
Hope you are having a great time reading, writing and connecting with fellow A to Zers, Linda 🙂
Co-Host AJ’s wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2014
Just for four posts. It was such a big and complicated story with a lot of twists and turns.
Geez! Like a battle just to get paid. I admire your resilience.
Wow! I hope they finally figure out your paycheck and such! Crazy. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I did 8 years in the Navy, it’s interesting to read about how the other services live. God bless & stay safe!
Lisa @ Tales from the Love Shaque
Yikes. They need better communication.
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