Tell the DOD: Veterans shouldn’t be punished for the crimes of others

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    Tell the DOD: Veterans shouldn’t be punished for the crimes of others

    Veterans already suffer disproportionately from high rates of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and suicide compared to their civilian counterparts. Those ills afflict Black veterans and veterans of color at even higher numbers, further disrupting communities that are already marginalized.

    At a time when many veterans are struggling to rejoin civilian society and leverage their experience towards creating a better life for themselves, their families, and their fellow citizens, this forced debt repayment creates an odious and unjust burden. Our service members willingly enlisted in a time of great need and sacrifice to serve our nation. They should not be punished or impoverished as a result of doing so.

    Below is the message we'll deliver to the Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and the Department of Defense on your behalf

    Ashton B. Carter

    Secretary of Defense

    1000 Defense Pentagon

    Washington, DC 20301-1000

    Dear Secretary Carter,

    I am writing to to express my deep concern regarding the debts levied against veterans and military service members in the state of California, imposed as a result of a federal audit into financial mismanagement of enlistment bonuses by the California National Guard. Despite your quick action in waiving the debts of the California veterans impacted, and to ordering the Department of Defense to set up a streamlined process by Jan. 1, 2017, to help the troops get relief from the repayment obligation, the possibility remains that veterans in other states could be similarly punished.

    Therefore, I ask you to create and implement a policy within the Department of Defense that shields veterans and service members across all branches of the U.S. military from being punished for financial mismanagement related to the actions of others.

    Thank you,

    [Your name]

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