Most Red Bulls have received overdue bonus payby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Overdue payments worth about $12 million are on their way to more than 2,000 members of the Minnesota National Guard. The retroactive pay was for soldiers who saw their deployments extended to end in 2007.
Military officials say about three-quarters of eligible soldiers have already gotten paid.
Colonel John Kolb, with the state's Joint Force Headquarters, said a bureaucratic mix-up at the Defense Department was partially responsible for the three-year delay.
"We waited from August of 2007 until just this month now, March and April of 2010, before the bureaucracy, if you wanted to call it that, finally worked itself out," Kolb said.
Kolb said he is thankful that the payments are finally on their way to soldiers and their families.
"I view it as a promise and an obligation that the federal government made to these soldiers on behalf of, I hope, a grateful nation," he said. "It's just nice to see that folks are finally receiving what they had earned."
National Guard officials are urging any Red Bulls who may be eligible for retroactive pay to contact their units as soon as possible.
The official welcome home ceremony for the Guard's 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls, which served year long deployments in southern Iraq, was held Saturday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.