On Monday we reported that the Pentagon had authorized overtime bonus pay to 2,500 Minnesota Army National Guard members earned three years ago when their tours of duty in Iraq were extended by the troop surge. The memo didn’t specify exactly when those payments would be made, but today we got an answer.
Rep. John Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, confirmed that the 34th Infantry Division, known as the Red Bulls, will see their checks delivered between March 15 and 19. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ office made the decision less than two weeks after a contentious committee hearing where Kline and Rep. Tim Walz lit into top Pentagon brass over the delayed payments.
“I am pleased to see decisive action to rectify this unacceptable situation,” Kline said in a statement hailing the fact that the soldiers are to finally receive their long-overdue payments. “Our brave men and women in uniform can finally have confidence that they will receive the benefits they have earned.”
The Red Bulls are set to receive a collective sum of about $10 million.