- Posted August 2, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Chicago Veteran Made Homeless By United States Army
In January of 2012, SPC Lonzo Adams was sent home early from a tour in Afghanistan to begin the process of clearing Ft. Drum, his most recent assigned duty station. When SPC. Adams returned home, he was instead accused of attempting to steal a weapon sight and went through the proceedings of a Field Grade Article 15. He was judged by a foreign command as his was still in Afghanistan. While SPC Adams has witness statements that stated he tried to return the item in question, SPC Adams was still punished, receiving the sentence of a reduction in rank, a forfeiture of 1/2 his base pay for 2 months, and 45 days extra duty. Upon appeal, his pay was not garnished and his extra duty was suspended. Nothing further was mentioned about his rank reduction, and the appropriate paperwork was never submitted to reduce his rank. During this same time, SPC. Adams' ETS date was extended by a year.
In January of 2013, SPC. Adams again began the process of clearing Ft. Drum. It was then, in January 2013, almost a full year after the original punishment, that his chain of command submitted the paperwork for his Article 15, in violation of military regulations, which state that a chain of command has 30 days to submit paperwork to enact punishments.
Per AR 27-10:
"...he delay in executed punishment should not exceed 30 days, or in the case of Army Reserve
Soldiers, should not exceed the period that would include the next 30 days (however interrupted) in which that Army
Reserve Soldier is in a Title 10, USC duty status."
It was then, that in spite of the paperwork being submitted out of regulation, that Ft. Drum's finance office and DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) decided that SPC. Adams had in fact been being paid at the wrong rank, and proceeded to take his ENTIRE paycheck every 1st and 15th to settle the debt. SPC. Adams has a wife, one toddler son, and his wife was pregnant at the time.
SPC. Adams then went to his local Congressman Bill Owens to find help, as his chain of command and Ft. Drum's Inspector General refused to help him. COngressman Owens' office contacted the Department of the Army, who investigated the matter. The Department of the Army found that there had been a clear injustice done to SPC. Adams, especially in relation to the failure to properly submit his punishment paperwork. They in fact overturned his Article 15 in full, and restored SPC. Adams' rank, and cancelled the debt that had been determined by DFAS and Finance that was owed.
However, when the letter from the Department of the Army was submitted to Ft. Drum's Finance Office, it never made it's way to DFAS, and instead, they continued taking SPC. Adams' paycheck. When a debt is cancelled, all monies that have been paid into it are to be given back to the servicemember. The debt was cancelled in March. DFAS continued to take SPC. Adams' pay until April, when they took his final paycheck for items lost.
A case was submitted on April 25, 3 days before SPC. Adams was expected to ETS. DFAS claims that they will resolve claims in 60 days. Today makes day 93. Since that day, Congressman Bill Owens' office has once again contacted the Department of the Army, who once again verified that SPC. Adams is to receive all funds paid for his alleged "debt".
Because of the careless actions of the Chain of Command for E710BSB at Fort Drum, NY, Ft. Drum's Finance Office, and DFAS-Indianapolis, SPC. Adams and his family are now homeless, and unable to find a home for their family, which consists of 2 small children. In fact, instead of attempting to give SPC. Adams the money that he is rightfully owed, DFAS-Indianapolis has instead sent him additional bills for an unknown debt, which they refuse to substantiate or give SPC. Adams any paperwork on. Instead, they are demanding that he pay or they will ruin his credit.
SPC. Adams is highly decorated, has no criminal record or background, and has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as Operation Enduring Freedom.
And instead of honoring him as a Veteran, the US Army has instead tried to mess him over at every turn. He isn't asking for much, just what he is owed. Is that too much to ask for a man who has served his country more than once?