Not too long ago, a person shared a link on the Part Time Commander Facebook page about stopping G-Rap injustice. I had caught some brief news about this, but I had not researched it completely, so I essentially had no opinion regarding it.
Yesterday, I was reviewing various Army National Guard news sources and I happened upon a script from a 60 Minutes news documentary called After Shock. The script was titled Backlash from Army’s largest criminal investigation and you can view it here.
While trying to stay as unbiased as possible on both sides, I am going to try to explain this whole situation. It seems that overall that G-Rap had good intentions with a terrible outcome.
What Was G-Rap?
G-Rap stood for Guard Recruitment Assistance Program.
The National Guard created the program in 2005. Since many Army National Guard soldiers had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, numbers were down, and there needed to be high recruitment figures.
Any Army National Guard soldier could participate in the program. All that they had to do was get the name, social security number, phone number and address of a possible recruitment prospect and turn it over to a National Guard recruiter. By having this information, the soldier could turn it in and be paid a bonus.
It seemed like easy money to many National Guard soldiers, but was it really easy? Or did some soldiers falsify information? Each recruit a soldier brought in gained that soldier $2,000.
Keep in mind that the prospect was to be told that the soldier would receive a bonus when they turned in the information to a recruiter. So it seems managing such a program would be as simple as asking the prospect who referred them, but that was not done.
The Indictments Come
It was determined years later that many soldiers turned in names and numbers of people they had never met. In total, over 100,000 soldiers received bonuses under the G-Rap program.
The investigations started and nearly 150-200 soldiers have been indicted. Some of those soldiers have just pleaded guilty and dealt with their punishments. Others have been offered plea bargains in which they have to pay back a set amount. But many are claiming they did nothing wrong.
Several Soldiers Who Faced The Judge
Master Sergeant Jerry Wilson went to trial for theft against the Army National Guard. Wilson has over 20 years of service. Jerry was found not guilty, but he has discovered the Army believes differently. The Commanding General of the Colorado National Guard put a reprimand in Jerry’s file which gives him no chances of further promotions.
Jim Root was also found not guilty, but the Army told him he needed to get out, so he ended up taking a medical discharge.
Major John Suprynowicz has been under investigation and he claims that the Army and the CID agents are trying their hardest to ruin his career.
Every single one of the soldiers who received any bonuses through G-Rap have been investigated. While some of these soldiers have admitted to doing wrong and have paid the penalty, those who have been found not guilty under a court of law have still been attacked.
And, from what I have reviewed, none of those who were in charge of the whole program have been investigated.
Was Investigation Money Well Spent?
So thus far, we know that the Army National Guard developed this program with good intentions and it came out with bad actions by a few. The Army took it upon themselves to investigate every one of the soldiers who collected bonuses from this program and so far, over 100,000 of those soldiers have been cleared of any wrong doing.
It is estimated that the amount in fraud damages is approximately $10,000,000.
So, what has the Army spent on the investigation thus far?
While I completely understand that all those who defrauded the Army National Guard need to be punished, I firmly believe that if someone is found not guilty in a court of law, Army leaders can not, should not be able to punish them.
Also, what gives with spending nearly triple to catch the culprits?
It just doesn’t seem to make sense to me. What do you think?
Let the debate start.
- G-RAP Investigations Ruin Soldiers’ Lives
- Numbers show National Guard bonus scandal not living up to hype