Green Beret fired from post office after heading off to war

Author: dave culbreth
Published: Updated:

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A green beret gets a pink slip after fighting in Iraq.

The law says his job is protected, but a WINK News investigation uncovers, the U.S. Postal Service fired him while he was away at war serving his country for five years.

The American flag flies over the flags of the Armed Forces outside a local postal distribution center, but Rick Erickson will tell you the U.S. Postal Service is not all that kind to members of the Armed Forces. He started working there in 1988.

He also volunteered to be in the National Guard reserves. It was supposed to involve a weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, but then came war.

He had no choice, he went, he fought and then he came back.

The first two times there was no problem. But then in 2000, he went back to war and fought. After rising to the highest rank possible in the Green Berets, he was wounded.

“We’re looking for the Taliban,” said Erickson, “and we got caught  in an ambush.”

Erickson was awarded a Purple Heart, but he had been gone five years and for that, he was fired.

“They told me I had already been terminated.”

According to the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA) that’s against the law.

“They’re supposed to be protected under these laws so that when they come home they have their job. When I came home, I didn’t have my job,” said Erickson.

Erickson decided to sue for back pay, benefits, damages, and attorney’s fees since the year 2000, and he won what’s said to be the largest award ever in a USERRA case, over $2 million.

Since then, he says he’s gotten “nothing. Even two years ago they were ordered to pay me by January and they’ve done nothing.”

WINK News contacted the postal service but it says it can not comment on pending litigation.

However, in court documents, the postal service claims that Erickson told a former boss he didn’t want his job back.

Since 2006, Erickson has tried to find work, but it’s been tough.

At the same time he was raising three daughters by himself, that meant he had to go back overseas.

Erickson finally retired from the military in January and says he’s still waiting for the money the courts have already awarded him.

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