Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Pentagon demanded the California National Guard members repay decades-old reenlistment bonuses. Additionally, it has been reported that while this controversy is currently only impacting California National Guardsmen, It could potentially apply to Guardsmen throughout the country.

“I am extremely dismayed that the Pentagon has asked the California National Guard to ‘repay’ their bonuses,” said Cole. “This is downright wrong. Our men and women in uniform, especially those who have seen combat, are responsible for protecting our national security and that of our allies. Demanding repayment of the bonuses awarded to them for reenlisting severely undermines and disrespects the sacrifice and honor that they gave in order to defend our nation and our freedoms.”

“Our service members protect all of us in many ways and they do not deserve these kind of surprises from our government,” continued Cole. “Congress needs to act in whatever way is necessary to stop this absurd policy and to make sure that service in the National Guard is respected and rewarded in a way commensurate with their selfless service to our nation. The good news is, the House has a provision in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act which would protect our men and women in uniform from mindless policies such as this one. It should be acted upon immediately ”