The 4th Combat Aviation Brigade has been deployed to Eastern Europe since the spring, and for Christmas, their commander requested that they be allowed to go home for holiday leave.
But it wasn’t to be. This week, those soldiers found out that higher command had rejected 4th CAB’s request for an exception to deployed leave policy, and many were out plane tickets and other expenses, U.S. Army W.T.F.! Moments first reported on Tuesday.
“Due to mission requirements, an exception was not supportable,” Beth Clemons, a U.S. Army Europe spokeswoman, told Army Times on Thursday. “Unfortunately, many soldiers purchased tickets before the leave approval process was complete.”
Col. Scott Galloway, the 4th CAB commander, reportedly told his soldiers in early November that they would be allowed to take leave for the holidays, W.T.F.! Moments reported in a Facebook post. But on Dec. 5, he told his troops that they would be staying in Europe, according to the group’s Facebook page.
“The commander wrote a memo explaining the situation to the travel companies in order to help the soldiers,” according to the Facebook post. “However, some soldiers were granted authorization for their travel because of inability to obtain refunds (due to non-US airlines and high cost).”
Others are stationed remotely around the region and not getting the information they need to start the refund process, according to the Facebook post.
“The command genuinely regrets the undue stress this situation has created for our soldiers and their families and will continue to work with each individual Soldier to address their individual situation,” Clemons said.
Each of the 4th CAB’s battalions has been assigned at least one refund coordinator, Clemons said. She urged any soldiers affected to reach out to their chains of command.
“The command is doing everything in its power to rectify the situation and ensure no soldier has to pay out of pocket for incurred expenses due to unapproved leave,” she said.