- Gus BilirakisRepresentative
- Neal DunnRepresentative
- John RutherfordRepresentative
Allow military veterans who've served in combat to receive full coverage under GI-Bill.
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Reservist and guard veterans are not treated as full-fledged "veterans" in the writing of the current GI-Bill. They are seen as "less than deserving".
The current GI-Bill (Post 9/11) is a great tool for military members and veterans alike. It allows opportunities for aspiring students who otherwise would be unable to afford tuition at certain institutions...but it has a major flaw: Reservists & National Guard members are considered "sub-veteran" in the eyes of the VA.
The VA allows for 100% coverage through their Post 9/11 GI-Bill program only to those who have completed 36 months of "active duty time" ('active duty time' is considered simply as time-in-service in the 'active military' or times at which reservists are 'activated') or who were discharged due to service-connected disability. This leaves countless veterans who have fought and bled for this country to receive less than their fair share. For example, a reservist Combat Engineer who is part of a Route Clearance Package and deploys to a theater of operations to search for roadside bombs will have to be deployed four times (under the current Army deployment model of nine months) to be eligible for 100% coverage. That means the three deployments that he or she went through, the detonations under their feet, the tears & the fear, the smoke & the blood are not satisfactory enough to be considered a full "veteran".
I will never, in any way, try and discredit anyone else's military service, but there are countless members of the active-duty military community who have never deployed to a theater of operations. Who have never held a weapon outside of Basic Training. Who have never felt the fear that their lives were about to end. But if those members served 36 months while on active duty, they are seen as more of a veteran than a combat-arms service member who has, but has yet to reach 36 months of active duty time.
Reservists and National Guard members take up a substantial role in today's ever-changing, asymmetrical battlefield. They've left careers, families, friends, belongings, and made the same sacrifices as active members.
To solve this blatant imbalance, I propose:
"Keep the current Post 9/11 perimeters in place. The only change being if a military member serves overseas, and qualifies for Imminent Danger Pay/Hostile Fire Pay for a combined total of 180 days, regardless of the specific theater or their current active/reserve status, that member will be entitled to the full 100% benefit coverage."
The current writing of the GI-Bill not only leaves out Reservists & Guardsman who've fought in foreign wars, but also active duty personnel who've done the same, but served less than 36 month contracts.
This will allow members who have fought for this country, with sweat beading down their Kevlars and the taste of sulfur in their mouths after an IED detonation, to come home to their deserved hero's welcome and not be treated as any less of a veteran.
I've finally found my career path now that I'm out of the military, and higher-level education was not the route that I followed, but for countless veterans of our nation's foreign wars that fought gallantly while serving in the reserves of the armed forces, their dream of obtaining a degree, diploma, or certificate from an institution of learning is their highest goal.
The reservists of our military, I believe without a shadow of a doubt, have become one of the greatest assets to our nation. Easily deployable all the way down to the company-level, and motivated to do so. I always said that a reservist not given the tools necessary to complete their mission, will not simply admit that they're poorly supplied and give up, but they'll go out and buy them or "acquire" them. One way or another, the mission would be complete.
Working around building families, careers, and lives, the reserves have sacrificed so much to answer the call and fight along side their active duty brethren, but return home to be treated as if their service was not quite enough.
I hope that you can take a minute to go over this petition and offer any feedback you may have.
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