Guard, Reserve members deserve veteran status

To the editor:

As an active member of AMVETS and a supporter of our armed forces, I am urging your support for all of our National Guard and Reserve troops by moving S. 491, the Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act of 2011, out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) and to the floor for a full vote.

This cost neutral bill, which would not bestow any additional benefits, would authorize ‘veteran status’ for National Guard and Reserve members that are entitled to a reserve retirement at age 60, but were never called to active federal service (Title 10) during their careers. Drill training, annual training, active duty for training and Title 32, including border patrol duty are currently not qualifying service to earn
veteran status.

These individuals, currently designated as ‘military retirees,’ are already entitled to military retired pay, TRICARE health coverage and many other veterans’ benefits and therefore deserve to be recognized as
veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States.

While H.R.1025, the House version of this bill, was passed a year ago this week, the SVAC has been unable to move this bill forward.  With Veterans Day fast approaching, now is the time to urge your colleagues on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to expeditiously move this bill forward and to support its passage into law. Our career National Guard and Reserve members deserve nothing less.

Ronald Pouliot
Little Compton

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