#1 Nov 23, 2007
Army: Wounded Soldier Won't Lose Bonus


A soldier whose injuries in Iraq forced him to leave the military early "inadvertently" received a letter from the Army asking him to repay a portion of his sign-up bonus, the military said.

Former Pfc. Jordan Fox "inadvertently" got a letter asking him to repay $2,800 of his $7,500 enlistment bonus, and officials were checking to see if other injured soldiers were sent similar notices, the Army said in a statement Wednesday.

Soldiers who are injured or become ill while on active duty can keep all sign-up bonuses due them, the Army said. But the Army hasn't decided whether to pay Fox his unused leave, Army spokesman Major Nathan Banks said.

The statement came after Fox appeared on local and national TV and radio shows to talk about the letter.

Fox, 21, from the Pittsburgh suburb of Mount Lebanon was partially blinded in his right eye and sustained a back injury in a roadside bomb explosion in Baquba in May. He returned to the United States two months later and received a discharge.

In late October, Fox got a letter from the Army seeking repayment of part of his enlistment bonus because he had only completed about a year of his three-year service.

Another letter arrived a week later warning he could be charged interest if he didn't make a payment within 30 days.

"I was just completely shocked," Fox said. "I couldn't believe I'd gotten a bill in the mail from the Army."

Army officials said they don't know how many other soldiers may have faced similar situations.

Fox said his sight has improved, but he still has back pain. He helps his family run Operation Pittsburgh Pride, a volunteer group that has sent 4,000 care packages to troops in Iraq.

"I'm fortunate," Fox said. "I have both arms and both legs. A lot of people aren't that lucky."

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