Soldier 'shocked' after Army gives him and dozens of others notice to leave service
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — They may have survived combat abroad but thousands of soldiers are caught in the crossfire of a budget battle at home.
Out of 20,000 Army Commissioned Officers, some 1,600 are being forced out of their jobs, including dozens at Fort Bliss, as part of the Pentagon's ongoing plan to downsize the U.S. military.
"It's a sensitive subject. At first, we were very upset and confused. It took about 48 hours, 72 hours to let it die down," said CPT Andrew Frazzano from Fort Bliss.
Frazzano is among the 1,100 Captains across the country being forced out of the Army because of budget cuts.
"We had plans on starting a family, my wife and I. We wanted to move towards that in the fall, however, now that I have to transition out and find a new job, it just put the brakes on those ideas," said Frazzano.
The thirty-one year old was notified in June along with 43 other Captains from the First Armored Division at Fort Bliss.
And unlike some of his fellow soldiers, Frazzano won't receive retirement benefits because he hasn't served at least 15 years.
Instead, he's being what's called 'separated.'
"We're not really sure how we'll pay all the bills. We do have separation pay, which will help us out, and that's easing some of our concerns," said Frazzano.
"Thank you for your service but based off your year group, there was more officers in your year group than we can actually have within the military," said LTC Lee Peters from Fort Bliss.
And that goes for Majors in the Army too.
Five hundred and fifty Majors nationwide are being let go, including 18 within the First Armored Division at Fort Bliss.
"There are still options and benefits for those Captains and Majors. They can join the Army Reserve or the Army National Guard, and still continue their service to our nation," said Peters.
It is certainly an option Frazzano is pursuing.
He's also starting a Master's program at Georgetown University in the spring and looking for work in the meantime.
"No matter what reason it was, you served honorably, and you have opportunities out there to demonstrate your strengths," said Frazzano.
Army Captains have until April 1st, 2015 to leave the service, while Majors have until May 1st, 2015.