SEATTLE – Robert Taft says at age 18, he knew he wanted a career in the U.S. Navy. He enlisted and says he received recognition over time.
“They said, you know your stuff, and now we want you to go teach these students,” said Taft. “They gave me an option to do a six year reenlistment, and the bonus upwards of $72,000 for six years.”
But he says that bonus turned into bills after he was transferred to Naval Base Kitsap.
“That's when they determined that I had a heart condition. That really turned everything 180 degrees around,” he said.
He says he was discharged because of the heart condition.
Taft’s new reality involves paying more than $2,000 every month because he says the Navy wanted the bonus back. According to Taft, it comes down to his heart problem. He claims the VA calls it a disability, but the Navy calls it a medical condition. He says that distinction is why more than $46,000 of the bonus that he's been paid so far is being recouped.
Taft says he has been dealing with Defense Finance and Accounting Services. He says he did serve from 2010 until he was discharged in 2014, and he argues that he earned a majority of the bonus.
Taft adds that it has been difficult to find a lawyer willing to take his case. He has contacted Senators and Congressmen. He plans to ask the Office of the Secretary of Defense for a remission of debt.