Recently Jeff Phillips, ROA Executive Director, testified with the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC).
To explain why SVAC should support proposed legislation for the Reserve Components, Jeff began by recognizing Guard and Reserve contributions, “From north to south, east to west, America’s young men and women for more than two centuries have affirmed the wisdom of our founders in their willingness to engage boldly, selflessly, and with great fidelity in the defense of our way of life. . . The selected reserves contribute more than 820,000 members of our armed forces. Since 9-11, more than 900,000 members of the Guard and Reserve have been activated for service in this war. These men and women serve us every day, in remote places, as well as cities in turmoil right here at home. Each act of service incurs personal risk voluntarily accepted.”
S. 602, G.I. BILL FAIRNESS ACT OF 2015
ROA wholeheartedly supports this proposal to continue eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill when a member of the reserve component is receiving medical care under Title 10 United States Code (U.S.C.) 12301(h). Placing reserve component servicememembers on these active duty orders is done for administrative purposes and Guard and Reserve members should not lose eligibility for education benefits. The change in status from one type of order to 10 United States Code 12301(h) is done to unencumber direct operation support billets. The change from one type of active duty order to another type of order should not be seen as change to a lesser duty status.
S. 681, BLUE WATER NAVY VIETNAM VETERANS ACT OF 2015
ROA urges Congress to support Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange when ships manufactured fresh water by taking sea water, contaminated with Agent Orange off of the coast of Vietnam. This occurred when the rain washed Agent Orange through water tributaries to the South China Sea. On board ship, potable water (sea water distilled one time) is used for showers, shaving, cooking, coffee, laundry and dishwashing, which explains how sailors were directly exposed to the contaminated water. The Department of Defense does not have a toxic exposure policy to identify and study servicemembers who are exposed to toxic chemicals even though exposure to toxins has occurred in every modern war. A policy that tracks exposure could ultimately reduce health care costs through the collection of verifiable data rather than rely on designation of presumption status through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
S. 743, Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act of 2015
The proposed bill to recognize a reserve component member as a veteran, but without benefits, is a legislative goal of The Military Coalition (TMC). The TMC, in a letter to bill sponsors, which ROA supported, stated, “The individuals covered by your legislation have already earned most of the benefits granted to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and yet they do not have the right to call themselves veterans because their service did not include sufficient duty under Title 10 orders. Because of this they feel dishonored by their government. Your legislation simply authorizes them to be honored as “veterans of the Armed Forces” but prohibits the award of any new benefit. The ‘Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act of 2015’ is a practical way to honor the vital role members of the Reserve Components have had in defending our nation throughout long careers of service and sacrifice. And it can be done at no-cost to the American tax-payer because of your legislation.”
More ROA Testimony