Contact your Senators and ask them to expeditiously pass this session H.R. 1025 previously passed by the House of Representatives and now before the Senate. This bill would authorize National Guard and Reserve members entitled to Reserve retirement pay the honor of claiming Veteran status
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1025 on Oct. 11, 2011, and sent the bill to the Senate for its approval. The cost neutral bill provides an opportunity for a divided Congress to come together to honor our National Guard and Reserve.
Most members of Congress and many serving and retired National Guard and Reserve members may not know that a reservist can complete a full Guard or Reserve career but not earn the title of “Veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States,” unless the member has served on Title 10 active duty for other than training purposes.
H.R. 1025 would authorize Veteran status under Title 38 for National Guard and Reserve members of the Armed Forces who are entitled to a non-regular retirement under Chapter 1223 of 10 USC but were never called to active federal service during their careers – through no fault of their own.
Some National Guard members now serving on Operation Noble Eagle on our Southwestern border on Title 32 orders may one day retire from the Guard but will not qualify to be Veterans of our Armed Forces.
Currently, the Veterans Code, Title 38, excludes from the definition of “Veteran” career reservists who have not served on Title 10 active duty for other than training purposes. Drill training, annual training, active duty for training and Title 32 duty are not qualifying service for Veteran status.
The cost neutral bill would not bestow any benefits other than the honor of claiming Veteran status for those who honorably served and sacrificed as career reserve component members but were never ordered to Title 10 active service. They deserve nothing less.
The Military Coalition (TMC), a consortium of uniformed services and veterans associations representing more than 5.5 million current and former servicemembers and their families and survivors, is writing in support of your bills, the S.491, Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act, 2011 and HR 1025, to authorize veteran status in Title 38 for National Guard and Reserve members of the Armed Forces who are entitled to a non-regular retirement under Chapter 1223 of 10 USC and who were never called to active federal service during their careers other than active duty for training orders.
It is paradoxical that some Reserve Component members now serving in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) on duty other than mobilization orders as is often done for federal reserve members, or carrying out a national security mission to protect the integrity of our Southwestern border (on Title 32 orders) may one day qualify for a military pension from the Reserve Component but will not qualify as Veterans of our Armed Forces.
As hard as that notion may be to understand or accept, the intent of this cost-neutral bill is to honor the service and sacrifice of our career Reserve Component members who were never called up to active duty. The bill does not authorize any new or unearned Veterans’ benefits to any member of the National Guard or Reserves.
The Military Coalition appreciates your leadership on this important issue and stands ready to aid your efforts to pass this legislation in the 112th Congress.