National Guard soldiers to receive reinstatement bonuses

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced late Monday afternoon that progress was made on the issue of National Guard soldiers not receiving reenlistment bonuses.

Earlier, certain categories of National Guard full-time employees, known as Active Guardsmen (AGR) and Military Technicians, were being told they were not eligible for a $15,000 reenlistment bonus that other National Guard soldiers had received. Yesterday, Gov. Gregoire’s Military Department was advised that the Secretary of the Army for Reserve Affairs and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness were initiating interim authority nationwide to pay bonuses to AGRs and Military Technicians. The soldiers must have served on active duty in Afghanistan, Iraq or Kuwait to receive the bonus.

The governor credited the responsive efforts of Washington’s Congressional delegation, particularly Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Norm Dicks, working in concert with the Washington Military Department.

“The men and women in the National Guard who have stepped up to continue their great service to our state and our country deserve to be compensated equally, not discriminated against based on their category or some other arbitrary classification,” said Gov. Gregoire. “I’m pleased the Pentagon has reconsidered and will make sure these deserving soldiers get the bonuses offered to others in the National Guard who reenlist.”

The Washington Military Department has not yet received the specific instructions but has been told that this interim measure will allow payments and that a permanent policy change is forthcoming.