Investigations

Army's 'Invisible soldier' not paid for duty

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

How is it possible that you join the Army Reserves, complete all your training, but never get your active duty pay? That's exactly what happened to Private Black, the Army's invisible soldier.

"These are my class a uniforms. This is what I graduated in," said Dominek Black, an Army Reserves Private.

Laid off from her paralegal job, Dominek Black joined the Army Reserves to make some money.

She signed up, got issued a military ID, and spent six weeks in specialized training with the 462nd Transportation Battalion at Ft. Lee in Virginia.

"That's a pin I got the day I graduated, Transportation Corp pin," Private Black said.

Private Black put in long days training alongside her fellow-soldiers.

At the end of her eight weeks, she received her diploma from the U.S. Army Transportation School.

What she didn't receive was her military pay.

"I had to report at the same time, I had to do everything that everyone else had to do, but they were getting their paychecks and I wasn't," Private Black said.

Private Black had somehow become the invisible soldier.

"They told me I wasn't in the military pay system," Private Black said.

The military ID, the diploma, the commendations and medal, all of it seemed to disappear in the U.S. Army bureaucracy, setting back this mother of four at least $7,000 in active duty.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Army Reserve command in Ft. Bragg North Carolina on Private Black's behalf.

Days after Eyewitness News' inquiry, we got an "unclassified e-mail" from Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence who says Private Black will be paid in full on May 8th.

He further stated that "It's difficult to identify the exact error that led to this situation," but that "ensuring soldiers are paid correctly is very important to the Army and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that happens."

Eyewitness News should note that it was only after we started asking questions that anyone in the Army made an effort to help Private Black.

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