U.S. Veteran Charged For Missing Equipment Nearly A Decade Later - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

U.S. Veteran Charged For Missing Equipment Nearly A Decade Later

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FAIRMONT -

For veterans like Gerrad Branum, September 11, 2001 made him realize there isn't much he wouldn't do for this country.

"I even lost friends of mine in those Twin Towers so it kind of hit home for me," said Gerrad Branum, U.S. Army Veteran. "When it comes down to losing good hearted Americans that worked their lives away, in this country we look at terrorists as two things. You are the enemy and you don't come in our backyard."

Branum served in the U.S. Army from 2001-2005. He spent most of his time serving in Iraq.

"More or less on the factors of going over there, I wish it upon no soldiers to have to deal with stuff we had to deal with in Iraq," Branum said.

On his way home, a bag containing a lot of field equipment that was issued to him got lost.

"We went to the company commander and informed him. We went from company commander and went to the C.O. The C.O. said ok file charges of basically what we call a field loss. All this paperwork was done and turned in," he said.

Now after nearly a decade after being discharged from the military, Branum received a letter stating that the IRS took more than $1,600 out of his tax return for the missing gear.

When he replied to the letter, he didn't get a response.

"As a government, you took my money in all aspects for a field loss for my service to my country," he said. "It is not right. It is wrong and it is immoral."

Information on property loss can be found on page 53 in the U.S. Army Regulations under Investigation of Property Loss Time Segments.

A chart shows that if the government were to charge Branum, it should have happened within three months of the gear being reported missing.

"A whole decade went by," he said. "Me personally, if that was the case you should have notified me before you put me out of the military."

Branum said he is currently working to take this issue to court. We will bring you more information on this story as it continues to develop.