National Guard general confirms 50 troops applied for assistance
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:45:01 GMT —
It's not every day you hear that National Guard troops are in need of help getting food while on deployment, but it's true.
"Our troops should be well fed, ready to their job/duty/assignment and we shouldn't have to be referring them to food banks", State Representative Rene Oliveira said.
After our investigation, State Representative Oliveira had a conference call with Brigadier General Patrick Hamilton who confirms 50 troops deployed to the valley put in applications for assistance with the armory in Weslaco, and that the person who took that information should have gone to superiors in the National Guard but instead reached out to the Food Bank RGV for food for the troops.
"I don't believe the local armory should have ever referred any of these troops to the food bank. I think they were trying to be helpful, but that's not what we should be doing in Texas," the state representative said.
In a press release following our initial story, the Texas National Guard tells Action 4 that service members supporting this operation receive pay, allowance for housing, and per diem for meals on the normal state payroll schedule.
We uncovered these particular troops arrived in the valley on August 11th and expect their first paycheck on September 5th.
They also opted to use the per diem program that the National Guard offers and that reimbursement doesn't get to them until they get paid.
"36 dollars a day and they may be incurring food expenses and there are contract programs that can be made that could have been done here but some chose not to elect to do them", Oliveira told Action 4 News.
Whatever reason they found themselves in this crunch, Oliveira says the local food bank should not be used in these situations and that General Hamilton told him the troops would have been immediately accommodated by the Guard had the proper channels been followed.
"The general convinced me that they have taken care of the matter and this won't happen in the future", he said.
In addition, Oliveira says there will be a legislative inquiry into this issue.
The Food Bank RGV tells us that no troops went to their warehouse for food.