Dozens of military doctors and dentists preparing for retirement owe at least three more years of service due to record-keeping errors, the Navy said Friday, the second time in a week that military officials have publicly admitted to discovering oversights. administrations that have derailed lives.

At least 65 dentists and doctors with the Navy Reserves have had three or four years of service removed from their records after an error was discovered in the way their retirement credits were calculated, the Navy said. Navy Reserve dentists and physicians provide care to members of any branch of service and their families.

Four affected doctors and dentists came forward with his issues, speaking to NBC News on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, days after the Army acknowledged a similar clerical error that affected hundreds of aviation officers.

“They are trying to hold us back in every possible way, even if they are trying to put a heavy hand on us,” said one dentist.

That dentist had invested $2 million to open a private practice before retiring this summer. One of the doctors said that he had sold his house and his car to move abroad before learning that he owed three more years.

“I feel like I’m trapped,” another doctor said. «It’s terrible. It’s unfair. It’s dishonorable.»

To retire with benefits, which begin at age 60, Reserve members must accumulate at least 20 years of qualified service.

For years, doctors and dentists who participated in the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program received up to four years of retirement credit if they joined the Selected Reservation — the military’s primary source of backup manpower — after fulfilling their active duty obligations.

The Army, Navy and Air Force used that credit as an incentive to retain health care workers, who were considered a «critically in short supply wartime specialty,» according to a 2002 Army memo providing guidance on politics.

While the Army and Air Force confirmed that they still allow doctors and dentists to use that credit for retirement, members of the Navy Reserves began seeing that credit disappear from their records last year.

As of January 2022, a physician’s record reflected that he had accrued 19 years of qualifying service. Six months later, she was reduced to 16 years old.

An official letter, sent by the Navy Personnel Command last June and obtained by NBC News, said that «an error was discovered» and that a «review of the records of all program participants indicated that the non-creditable time was judged credible.»

A «data migration issue» within the Navy’s Standard Integrated Personnel System «prematurely» awarded four years of service credit to officers, Cmdr. Rick Chernitzer, spokesman for the Navy Personnel Command, in a statement to NBC News.

The bug had previously allowed 95 people to retire before being eligible, Chernitzer saying.

The Navy said affected medical professionals would still receive credit for those years served, but only after they have reached the required 20 years, weakening a much-needed incentive, health care workers said.

One of the dentists said that there is no benefit to receiving credit after you hit the 20-year mark and that he would not have accepted the offer if he had known.

“The four years were offered as a recruiting incentive, and blaming a migration mistake is an outright lie,” he said.

a 2020 US Government Accountability Office reportwhich looked at retention issues, found that military doctors and dentists are generally paid less than those in the private sector.

Compensation also plays into why Army aviation officers prefer to become pilots for major airlines rather than stay in the military, several officials said.

Many affected doctors, dentists and airmen believe retention challenges in the military may be leading branches to reinterpret retirement and separation policies.

In a phone call with reporters last Thursday, Army officials said that more than 600 aviation officers are bound to another three years of service after they noticed «bugs» in the system a few months ago.

As part of a program known as BRADSO, 2008 and 2020 U.S. Military Academy or Army Cadet Command cadets were able to apply for a branch of their choice, including aviation, by agreeing to serve an additional three years on active duty.

For years, the Army allowed some aviation officers to serve those three years simultaneously, rather than consecutively, along with the roughly seven or eight years of contract service.

In letters the Army sent this month to affected airmen as well as members of Congress, it said it «realized» after conducting a «legal review of this policy» that the three-year BRADSO requirement must be met for separate.

The Defense Department did not immediately say whether any other branches or units have been affected by registry errors that are being fixed.

Meanwhile, those affected are struggling to navigate their future.

Doctors and dentists in the Navy Reserves are not bound by contracts and can leave if they want, but they would lose their retirement benefits, including a pension and medical care, so close to the finish line.

The dentist who started a private practice now worries about being tagged for deployment. If that happens, he said he would give up his benefits rather than abandon his patients and employees for more than a year.

“I was trying to sail into the sunset because I earned it,” he said.

Others said they are resigned to their fate and will stay because the retirement benefits outweigh their outrage.

“It’s a big carrot dangling in front of us to get that retirement,” said one doctor.