CBS News Correspondent David Martin
When Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker was asked how that could happen, he admitted he couldn't believe it, telling a congressional panel, "I have no idea why we would ever do something like that."
But Rebrook, out of the Army for a week, told CBS News exactly how it happened.
"The vest was covered in blood," he said, "and then taken off my body and destroyed as a bio-hazard after I was hit."
The armor vest should have been written off as a combat loss, Martin says, but last week, when Rebrook was turning in his gear, he ran into a bureaucratic fog of war.
"I was told that my command would not sign off on a report survey for it, because it had been such a length of time since the time of the incident and that, even if I did and I decided to appeal it, it probably wouldn't go through anyway. So, I didn't want to waste anymore time. I wanted to get on with my life."
Rather than fill out the forms and fight the bureaucracy, he paid the Army $632.39.
"I couldn't get my final paycheck from the Army until after I cleared Central Issue Facility, and I couldn't clear Central Issue Facility until I paid for my body armor, so it's sort of a 'Catch 22.' I felt nasty about it. I felt that I would have liked to have received better treatment from people, but in any large bureaucracy, they never make it easy for you."
A blog has already raised $5,000 that will more than cover the cost of the armor, Martin points out, but Rebrook won't need it, since the Army now says it plans to pay him back.