We have thieves, errrr, elected officials stealing from the country by millions and billions, but a wounded soldier get his disability pinged for gear lost in the battlefield. Or an accounting error. And yet, he refuses to take a dime from others.
Wish I could buy the man a beer.
Gary Pfleider doesn’t remember much of what happened after he got shot. The former Oregon National Guard soldier was in a truck on patrol in Iraq in 2007 when a bullet tore through his left leg.
UPDATE: The Army says it’s not billing Pfleider for lost gear. But he still owes them money.
“I remember grabbing ahold of my leg and realizing I had blood on my hands,” Pfleider told KVAL-TV. “And from that point on, until I got loaded onto the Stryker, it was just a big blur.”
Pfleider flew back to the states and recuperated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he was awarded the Purple Heart. One-third of the muscle in his leg is gone and he’ll have to wear a brace for the rest of his life.
And according to the government, he also has some debts to repay.
Last June, the Army sent Pfleider a bill for more than $3,000. Technically, the clothes and weapons his unit had to leave behind after he got shot were the responsibility of his commanding officers.
Pfleider claims he got sworn statements from his bosses that he was no longer liable. The government says he may have misfiled them, or they may be lost. It’s issuing a ruling on Friday to determine what Pfleider owes.
The feds are already docking Pfleider’s social security and put a freeze on his tax returns. Making it even more difficult for him to mentally prepare for an upcoming surgery on his leg, the ninth one he’s undergone since getting shot.
In the meantime, altruistic strangers are reaching out to Pfleider and offering to cover his expenses.
“I’m asking those people to wait,” he told KVAL. “I appreciate the offers, but that’s not the issue. I want a response back from the military. I want them to admit they are wrong. I want it known that vets are not going to stand for it and be treated the way we’re being treated.”
UPDATE: An Army spokesperson told KVAL that privacy laws prevent them from saying why Pfleider owes them money, but that it’s not for gear.
Pfleider, however, says he knows why. According to a conversation he had with military’s accounting wing, they accidentally overpaid him for his last three months in the Oregon National Guard. But Pfleider says he was not overpaid and he has the paperwork to prove it.