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Thousands Sign Letter to Gates Over Recoupment

Thousands Sign Letter to Gates Over Recoupment


More than 3,500 people have been signed to an open letter to Defense secretary Robert Gates that asks him to stop the practice of attempting to recoup costs of education, training, and bonuses from troops discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Advocates say that recoupment, which is an optional and not required practice, continues to saddle veterans with debt after they have been unfairly ousted from the service because of the discriminatory policy, which remains in effect despite the repeal law signed by President Barack Obama last month. Last week Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran discharged under the policy, wrote a letter to the president in which he refused to pay the $2,500 being requested for "the unearned portion" of his Army contract.

Americablog Gay posted an open letter to Secretary Gates in which it asked him to order the service chiefs to stop the attempts to recoup bonuses and education and training costs from veterans discharged under "don't ask, don't tell."

"Where is the integrity in demanding that soldiers discharged under 'don't ask, don't tell' pay thousands of dollars back to the military, simply because the Pentagon chose to end their careers?" asks the letter.

As of late Monday afternoon, more than 3,500 people had signed the letter, which Americablog Gay hopes to have signed by 4,000 people.

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