Not screwing over troops who volunteer to serve their country should seem like an obvious mission for military leaders. But, sometimes, just achieving that simple goal within the Pentagon bureaucracy deserves a medal.

The Defense Department recently decided that it will not force some 17,000 California National Guard soldiers to repay enlistment bonuses and other payments they received about 10 years ago due to a payroll-related snafu.

The erroneous payments totaled $190 million, and, initially, those troops were told to pony up the money (which they’d likely spent years ago) because they should have known they didn’t deserve those bonuses.

This decision ends years of wrangling that threatened to subject many of those Guardsmen to financial hardship. The military bean counters should keep better track of their money. But at least they can admit it when they’ve made a mistake.

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