‘The Army doesn’t care about them:’ National Guard members went weeks without pay while at NTC

Maj. Mark Kurzawa (left), a plans officer with the G4 Directorate, Joint Force Headquarters, Pa. National Guard; and 1st Lt. Marlene Yi, a personnel officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment, 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade observe a 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team sustainment rehearsal June 30, 2022 during a suspension of battlefield effects (SOBE) period at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. Kurzawa and Yi served on a 28th Infantry Division senior trainer team which observed the 56 SBCT’s NTC rotation and provided a link to support channels back in Pennsylvania. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Doug Roles)

A pay issue has rocked the Pennsylvania National Guard, and many members of a Stryker unit went some periods of time without pay.

The 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team was affected by the SNAFU, but have since been paid.

National Guard Deputy State Public Affairs Officer Brad Rhen, blamed a “system interface issue.”

“These soldiers have been working hard for months preparing for this exercise and have put in great work over the past month,” Rhen said in a statement.

“Leadership, from the 56th SBCT all the way up to Pennsylvania National Guard senior leadership, has been looking into this pay issue since they found out about it. We will ensure that every soldier gets every penny he or she earned.”

According to Task and Purpose, some of the soldiers went a whole month without being paid.

“I would say the overall lesson that junior soldiers learned from NTC is that the Army doesn’t care about them,” the soldier told Task & Purpose. “And it sucks. They know their first-line leaders, they know that I care about them, that their team leaders care about them, that their platoon sergeant cares about them. But everyone higher than that clearly doesn’t care about them at all.” 

According to Fox43, the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat team is currently completing a 30-day training exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

“It’s even more frustrating because, for me as a commander, like everything the unit’s been through the last three years — with COVID response, we were one of the first unit’s in D.C. in January 2021, normally you get a 2-year notice or leave time for the National Guard to come out to NTC, we got just over a year — really all the sacrifices and stuff that soldiers and families have given makes it so much more frustrating to me that they don’t get paid,” Col. Jon Farr, commander of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team said. “We’re not doing right by them by not paying them in a timely manner.” 

While the troops have since been paid, many orders are still needing revision and the servicemembers had to be paid manually, instead of by an automated system.

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