NGAUS Washington Report
(March 26, 2013) Arkansas is leading the effort in the Senate to grant veteran status to all National Guard and Reserve retirees.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., last month reintroduced the Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act, which would give those with 20 years of service in the Guard and Reserve the honor of being called a veteran.
Under current law, the definition of a veteran applies only to service members who have served on active duty.
The bill would amend this definition to allow qualifying individuals to salute when the Star Spangled Banner is played, march in veterans’ parades, and be recognized as a veteran by other veterans, Pryor and Boozman said.
“It’s unacceptable that these brave men and women have served our country proudly for over two decades, but through no fault of their own, are not allowed to call themselves veterans,” Pryor said.
“National Guard and Reserve members who selflessly serve in defense of our country should to be honored for their sacrifice,” said Boozman, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “The men and women who have dedicated two decades of their lives to this nation deserve this recognition. ”
The legislation is cost-neutral, and would not provide any additional financial benefits.
An identical bill (H.R. 679) is already under consideration in the House. Similar legislation has twice passed the House only to falter in the Senate.
Veteran status for all Guard retirees is a NGAUS legislative priority.