After Holiday Leave Snafu Strands Hundreds of Soldiers, Travel Tickets Are Refunded

Lauren Warner
December 18, 2018 - 5:30 pm

Photo courtesy of Spc. Matthew Marcellus/US Army

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After being told in November that their holiday leave was approved, hundreds of soldiers with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade booked trips home only to find out the informal approval from their brigade commander did not clear U.S. Army Europe.  Now big Army is working damage control to make sure the soldiers aren't left in the red from booking travel plans.

Photo courtesy of Cpl. Gabrielle Weaver/US Army

The Army has assigned refund coordinators to each battalion in the brigade, working towards getting all of the affected soldiers their money back without incurring additional expenses. A message posted on Army W.T.F. Moments stated that the confusion has been a source of unit strain. Soldiers “… are facing financial hardship due to inability to obtain refunds, pay high cancellation fees, and deal with the emotional toll being placed on these young families,”

U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) policy states that deployed units are not authorized ordinary leave and an exception must be granted. In this case, near the end of a 9-month deployment, there was no exception to policy.

Photo courtesy of Spc. Deomontez Duncan/US Army

A spokesperson for U.S. Army Europe put out a statement that refund coordinators are working on 50 refunds currently with all other refunds completed or expected. The command intends to continue working with each soldier to address individual situations and work toward alleviating the undue stress caused by the brigade-wide mistake.

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