U.S. Veteran Responds To Feedback Following Missing Gear Debt - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

U.S. Veteran Responds To Feedback Following Missing Gear Debt

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FAIRMONT -

We told you about a United States Army veteran who's been charged $1,600 for something that happened nearly a decade ago. Gerrad Branum's story has gone viral in just a matter of days.

The original Facebook post has been shared nearly 2000 times, has more than 800 comments and hundreds of likes. In total, it reached more than 150 thousand people.

Branum said the support he has received has been overwhelming and its an eye opener for veterans everywhere.

"I appreciate every person that's commented. Both negative and positive," Branum said. "Kicker is, here's the point: What they did was immoral evaluating every aspect of my military career."

After nearly a decade after being discharged from the military, Branum received a letter stating that the IRS took $1,600 from his tax return for missing gear. A bag containing field equipment that was issued to him was lost on his way home from war.

"Three months after I left the military, ya'll should have done your job. I was not in the wrong. I did the forms. Ya'll just didn't hold up your part of the end," Branum said.

Branum said he has received an outpouring of support by congressmen, senators, and those on Facebook.

"I appreciate every bit of ya'lls support. Because ya'll know we serve our country. We make it where ya'lls freedom is free," Branum said.

But not all feedback has been positive.

When 12 News checked on Branum's records earlier this week, Captain Tim Irvin, a spokesman at Human Resources Command, said Branum was found guilty of writing 20 bad checks totaling $5,800 while stationed in Korea.

Captain Irvin said the bad checks were written within a one month span, dating back to September of 2002. Seventeen of the checks were written for $300 and three were written for $200.

Branum was court-martialed in 2004 while he was serving in Iraq, Captain Irvin said. Once questioned, Branum said his checkbook was stolen.

When 12 News asked Branum about the incident, he claims he completed his 90 days of hard labor. Captain Irvin said records reflect Branum chose to be discharged from the military rather then perform 90 days of hard labor.

Branum said his past shouldn't even be brought up in this situation because it has nothing to do with the missing gear.

"I got drunk in Korea around my 21st birthday. I left my checkbook in the vicinity of a bar and my checkbook came up missing," he said.

Branum said he received another letter from the government on Thursday warning him the funds would be taken out of his tax return.

The letter came a week after the funds were taken from Branum's account.