Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ROA Testifies on Veteran Status

ROA submitted testimony for the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs at a July 1 hearing that included HR.3787, veteran status for Reserve Component members that served honorably for 20 or more years but were not activated for the required period of federal active duty.

Read ROA's testimony

Representative Tim Walz’s bill would grant veteran status to these service members that already receive military retired pay, medical care through TRICARE, and burial in veterans’ cemeteries. Both the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agreed no additional cost is associated with the bill and this group would not be granted new benefits. As Congressman Walz testified, “…I think it is a matter of basic common sense that if qualification for reserve retire pay is sufficient to secure government sponsored burial in a federal veterans’ cemetery, it should also grant the right to offer a hand salute during the playing of the national anthem, or take part in official Veterans’ Day events.” Despite Congressional support, and CRS’ and CBO’s okays, the Department of Veterans Affairs still does not support this legislation. As so many before have said, ‘it’s an honor thing’.


Anonymous said...

As a Korean War veteran, I do not think a reserve retiree should be granted veteran status as I understand the meaning for the phrase. I know several who purposely enrolled in Reserve or Guard units to avoid going on active duty during the Korean conflict. Why should they receive the same recognition as we who willingly went on active duty during the time of conflict?

Anonymous said...

The law is the law.

When in 1954, I was a young lad of age 17 and a junior in high school, I joined the Air National Guard. (the Korean War had just ended so joining was not an issue.) The military draft law at that time provided that an eligible male had to serve a minimum of two years active duty,if "drafted" or alternatively, at a minimum, an eight year military reserve enlistment. The Army offered a three year voluntary active duty option and both the Navy and Air Force offered a four year active duty options.

I do not understand why those who elected to serve eight years in a military reserve should be discriminated against and not be classified as veterans. They fulfilled their obligatory military service. Those who enlisted in the active reserve were also subject to recall to active duty for national emergencies as well as upon their failure to fulfill their reserve obligation. Once recalled, they would be considered veterans but not if they were not recalled... How rediculous!

In my opinion, the discrimination against these veterans is unjustified. So long as one fulfilled their manditory military obligation, they should be known as veterans.

Personally, I served in the reserves for over thirty-seven years. With the exception of serving ninty days of active duty while attending basic training and ninty days while attending a technical training course, (apparently,neither of which qualifies as active duty), I never served on extended active duty. And yet, I have Air Force retirement orders, I receive a military pension, I have a Retired Air Force ID card, I receive Tricare for Life benefits, I have unrestricted access to military bases and facilities and am eligible to be buried with my wife at a "veterans" cemetary. Yet,by law, I am not a veteran.

A person who fulfills their military obligation, whether on extended active duty or in the reserves should be classified as a veteran. It is long past time that the discrimination stop.

HMC(FMF/AW/NAC) J Contursi said...

A person who fulfills their military obligation, whether on extended active duty or in the reserves should be classified as a veteran.

Tomorrow I will have 24 years of Navy Reserve service and I am re-enlisting for 6 more years! I have received my Notice of Eligibility letter and I flew, in theater, as an Aircrewman during Desert Storm. However, I was never activated to full active duty.

I, like many of those similarly situated, should be granted full status as veterans. We have honorably fulfilled our military duty and contracts and stand ready to serve on active duty if called upon to do so.