Local army reservists haven't been paid

Posted at: 08/28/2013 6:14 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

They are American soldiers with no money, no food in their refrigerators and having their cars repossessed.

Some Albuquerque Army Reserve soldiers say they haven’t been paid and were told that their paychecks aren’t coming for at least two more weeks.

About 135 soldiers just got back Tuesday after being on active duty for 21 days at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

They left their civilian jobs but knew they would be getting military pay on August 26 for their active duty service.

That day has come and gone and some soldiers have not gotten paid.

"I had to pay in quarters, pay my gas in quarters just to get to work on time," said one man.

He is among 135 Army Reservists with the 877th Quartermaster Company stationed inside Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

About two dozen soldiers say they weren’t paid.

"Our commander just said he forgot to put in the pay inquiry," said another soldier.

"Two-thirds of the soldiers that conducted training at Ft. McCoy were paid. This group in particular was paid late," said Captain Aldo Melucci in a phone interview from El Paso where he lives.

Melucci will only say it was an "administrative oversight."

The soldiers were first told it would be two weeks before they saw the thousands of dollars owed to them.

"Two weeks to me losing my vehicle, my house, possibly having to live out on the streets until I can get back on my feet again," said one soldier.

"It's definitely been difficult. I'm looking at getting my car repossessed as well. It's just not what I expected when I joined the military," said another.

Asked what he has to say about his soldiers losing their cars or not having food in their refrigerator, Melucci responded, "Wow. This is the first I hear of any soldier that is in this situation. First thing I would say is, I regret that the pay was done delayed."

Melucci says his office is working hard to pay the 28 soldiers.

They will be paid at the earliest, September 4, the latest September 8, said Melucci.

The soldiers reached out to Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham.

She released a statement on this issue:

"Since the minute the service members contacted my office on Monday, we have been in continual communication with the Army and the service members to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. It is absolutely unacceptable that those who bravely serve our country have not yet received the pay they are owed, and that’s why my office has made this issue a priority. We will keep pressing the Army until every service member is paid in a timely manner."

Also, Rep. Lujan Grisham’s office has been reaching out to those service members who have not yet submitted privacy release forms so her office can start working on their behalf as well.