‘They Took Every Nickel’: California Guard Soldier Wounded in Iraq Details Injustice of Repaying Enlistment Bonuses

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For the last three years, retired California National Guard Master Sgt. Bill McLain’s wife, Terese, has repaid a bit of his enlistment bonuses to the Pentagon with a caustic note.

Each month, she writes “blood money” on the $100 check — the token amount the McLains pay on the $30,000 debt they deny owing — that she sends to the Pentagon. “Shame on you. Extortion,” she writes on the envelope.

The Pentagon cashes each check.

Facing a groundswell of public outrage, the Pentagon scrambled this week to temporarily suspend its demands for thousands of California Guard soldiers to repay enlistment bonuses and other incentives they were given to go to war.

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