A $2,500 Victory Bonus? 5 Afghan Vets Weigh In

March 8, 2019Justen Charters

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment patrol through Sangin District during their deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan in 2010. Photo by Sgt. Ned Johnson, courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to close out the war in Afghanistan and give troops who fought in the theater a bonus for their service.

The Military Times reported that Paul and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced a bill titled the American Forces Going Home After Noble Service Act. If passed, it would pay each veteran who served in the War on Terror a $2,500 “victory” bonus within the first year of the legislation becoming law, and set a one-year deadline for the removal of all military forces from Afghanistan.

Coffee or Die spoke with five veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom about Paul’s proposal.

Dane Sorensen in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of Dane Sorensen.

Former U.S. Army military policeman Dane Sorensen thinks the money should go to the VA: “I don’t think a payout to every person who served in the War on Terror would be a smart thing to do, especially when the VA still has trouble retaining providers to see veterans suffering from the mental trauma and physical injuries. We were already paid for our time in Afghanistan. Let’s put our money toward the VA.”

He added, “That way my friends and I don’t have to wait six months for therapy.”

Eugene Greathead, a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, believes such a move could send the wrong message. “As much as I love money, we are a professional army. That bonus could get twisted as payment to a mercenary force,” Greathead said. “Slippery slope. AUMF (Authorization of Use of Military Force) does not need to be repealed. For obvious reasons. Ending the war is a great idea. Ending our involvement is not a great idea.”

Eugene Greathead in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of Eugene Greathead.

Michael Brewer served as both a psychological operations soldier and defense intelligence counterterrorism officer. He doesn’t see the point in a bonus.I don’t really see any point in paying bonuses to those who served in Afghanistan, as Rand Paul has suggested,” Brewer said. “I think it’s beyond time to leave, given the lack of willingness to destroy the Taliban and the lack of willingness to hold Pakistan accountable for sheltering terrorist groups even as they target Americans in Afghanistan. It’s not a war and it hasn’t been for some time — and, in my opinion, if you’re not going to fight it like a war, don’t be there.

“As for the bonus,” Brewer continued, “I mean, it’s a nice thought, but it’s a politician move. There have been 2.77 million service members in Afghanistan on over 5.4 million deployments (Forbes). That means close to $7 billion in bonuses? Didn’t we just shut down the government over $5 billion for another security project here in our own country? Even as a possible recipient of the bonus, I think there are much better ways to spend $7 billion.”

Michael Brewer. Photo courtesy of Michael Brewer.

Former U.S. Army infantryman Derric Winters has two stances on the issue and, like Brewer, sees it as a convenient political maneuver. “It’s throwing money at a problem that can’t be fixed solely with money. That money isn’t going to help with substance abuse or chronic homelessness,” Winters said. “The man is doing nothing more than pandering to the veteran community to get votes for the upcoming election. I personally think it’s a complete waste of American taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”

Not all veterans oppose the proposed bill though. Brandon McGowan, an infantryman who served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, said, “I support it, not for the money but to stop fighting in a place that, no matter how hard we try, nothing changes. For me, it’s a tough subject.”

Brandon McGowan on deployment in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of Brandon McGowan.

The introduction of the bill comes amid growing support in congress for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as growing scrutiny of the Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was passed in the days following the 9/11 attacks. President Trump also voiced support for ending the now 17-year-old war during his State of the Union speech, saying “Great nations do not fight endless wars.”


Justen Charters
Justen Charters

Justen Charters is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. Justen was previously at Independent-Journal Review (IJ Review) for four years, where his articles were responsible for over 150 million page views, serving in various positions from content specialist to viral content editor. He currently resides in Utah with his wife and daughter.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved