Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Soldier injured on duty, now not getting paid.

The ARMY’s Soldier Creed is full of tradition and values that have stood for centuries and are at the core of each and every soldier. One of lines in the creed states that “I will never leave a fallen comrade”, but it seems that the ARMY has forgotten about SGT Marc C. Daniel and his willingness to place the mission first. SGT Daniel is a 42 year old ARMY reservist assigned to the 1-382d LSB at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and is married with children at home. He was attending his annual two week training when tragedy hit.

On May 6th, 2014 while training on the obstacle course at Fort Sill, SGT Daniel was on an obstacle when a board he was on became unsecured and he fell over five feet landing on his lower back. He was transported to Reynolds Army Community Hospital where he was evaluated and admitted for lumbar compression of L3, and lumbar bulging of L2-3 and L5-S1. On May 9th, 2014, SGT Daniel was fitted with a back brace, discharged from RACH and sent home to Clinton, Oklahoma. The recovery timeframe was originally diagnosed for 12 weeks, but his recovery has been slower than he had hoped. SGT Daniel’s civilian profession is a police officer with the Elk City Police Department and as of such needs a complete release from the doctor in order to return to work.

Typical ARMY procedure is to keep a soldier on orders to maintain financial stability while the Statement of Medical Examination and Duty Status (DA 2173) is completed and Incapacitation Pay is initiated. This paperwork normally takes 5-15 days, but ARMY Regulation 600-8-4 and AR 135-381 states that it is not to take longer than 30 days from the date of the injury. If this had happened, SGT Daniel would have avoided financial hardship. Daniel’s 14 day orders were canceled on May 9th without justification and as such has not been paid since. Now three months have gone by and SGT Daniel has not received any disability pay from the ARMY nor reimbursement for his subsequent trips (180 miles round trip) to RACH on Fort Sill, which is the closest medical treatment facility. He and his wife just welcomed a new child into their family and his wife is on maternity leave. His family is now struggling financially with this hardship, his residential rental company and automobile finance company are calling because of him being past due and unable to make the payments. SGT Daniel is also not eligible for an ARMY’s Emergency Relief loan, which are very low interest loans for soldiers that are suffering financial hardship. AER loans are only eligible for soldiers on Active Duty or Reservist soldiers that are on AT orders longer than 30 days. The police officers at the Elk City PD and the FOP were kind enough to provide some support for his family.

SGT Daniel has exhausted every formal avenue to get paid for his time off while recovering to include directly calling the every unit in the chain of command with no help. Currently the paperwork is being held at 63rd Regional Support Command in Mountain View, California. SGT Marc Daniel continues to recover from his injuries hoping to eventually receive clearance to return to duty so that he can once again provide for his family; he also continues to wait needlessly to receive financial support from the ARMY for his injury that occurred in the line of duty. SGT Daniel is an American Soldier, he has not accepted defeat and he has not quit.

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