4 On Your Side investigates reservists not getting paid

Posted at: 08/28/2013 6:43 PM
Updated at: 08/29/2013 7:41 AM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A New Mexico Army Reserve Company has just returned from active duty combat training in Wisconsin.

But now, more than two dozen of those soldiers are in a battle to get a paycheck owed to them by the Army.

Some of those soldiers reached out to KOB's 4 On Your Side team.

The unit's commander assured KOB that every one of the affected soldiers will get paid next week. But that may be too late, especially for those with a family.

"We're barely... scratching is not even the word anymore. We're crawling," one soldier said.

He will remain faceless out of fear of retaliation.

He is a father, a husband and a soldier who is trying to make ends meet.

"My son will be out of diapers today, my rent will be due," he said. "Nobody's going to be paying my late fees. My two cell phones are out. I have very, very small amounts of food in my fridge, what can I say?"

He and 27 other Army Reserve Soldiers in the 877th Quartermaster Company in Albuquerque have nowhere else to turn for help after going up the chain of command.

"They said we forgot to process your pay, suck up and drive on," one soldier said. "That's usually the favorite words of our unit: suck it up and drive on."

These soldiers left their civilian jobs to train for 21 days in Wisconsin and expected the military to pay them when they came home on Monday.

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

"First thing I would say is I regret that the pay was done delayed," Captain Aldo Melucci said.

Melucci says most of his 135 soldiers in the unit were paid on time.

But for the others, he will only say the delay in pay is an "administrative oversight."

It's just another thing to worry about for these soldiers, who at any moment could be called on to serve our country.

"I'm kind of worried about what am I going to come back to," questions one soldier. "What's going to happen with my pay?"

The commander says he is immediately reaching out to family programs within the Army to help soldiers with no food or in danger of losing their home.