PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ―
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of
wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses
because they are unable to serve out their
To get people to sign up, the military gives
enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.
Now men and women who have lost arms, legs,
eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being
ordered to pay some of that money back.
One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from
the South Hills.
He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads
onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care
package that will be sent to a man or woman serving
in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh
Pride was started.
Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb
blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His
back was injured and lost all vision in his right
A few months later Fox was sent home. His
injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months
of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a
letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of
his signing bonus back.
"I tried to do my best and serve my country. I
was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they're
telling me they want their money back," he
It's a slap for Fox's mother, Susan Wardezak, who
met with President Bush in Pittsburgh last May. He
thanked her for starting Operation Pittsburgh Pride
which has sent approximately 4,000 care packages.
He then sent her a letter expressing his concern
over her son's injuries, so she cannot understand
the U.S. Government's apparent lack of concern over
injuries to countless U.S. Soldiers and demands that
they return their bonuses.
While he's unsure of his future, Fox says he's
unwavering in his commitment to his country.
"I'd do it all over again... because I'm proud of
the discipline that I learned. I'm proud to have
done something for my country," he said.
But Fox feels like he's already given enough.
He'll never be able to pursue his dream of being a
police officer because of his wounds and he can't
believe he's being asked to return part of his
$10,000 signing bonus.
KDKA contacted Congressman Jason Altmire on his
behalf. He says he has proposed a bill that would
guarantee soldiers receive full benefit of bonuses.