Keeping up with the army and the reserves–oh, my!
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.