NGAUS bestowed the 2018 Harry S. Truman Award to Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today in his state office in Atlanta.
Isakson and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., are co-recipients of this year’s award. They are the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Tester received his award earlier this month.
“The Harry S. Truman Award is our association’s highest honor,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “Previous recipients include U.S. presidents, members of Congress and senior military leaders. All of them made sustained, significant contributions to our nation’s defense security. Senator Isakson and Senator Tester are worthy of inclusion in this distinguished group of patriots.”
Both men have a long record of initiating and supporting programs that strengthen the nation’s defense, Robinson said.
The two joined forces last year to win full congressional passage of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act, better known at the Forever GI Bill.
Signed by the president into law Aug. 16, 2017, it improves the Post-9/11 GI Bill by extending eligibility to Guardsmen and Reservists mobilized under authority 12304b and eliminating the 15-year deadline to use the benefit.
In addition, the new GI Bill provides mobilized Guardsmen and Reservists on medical hold with credit toward educational benefits and grants Purple Heart recipients the full benefit regardless of how much time they spend on active duty.
“Senator Isakson and Senator Tester understand that the U.S. military is fundamentally a people business,” Robinson said. “They know that taking care of the troops and brightening their future is as important to our nation’s defense as any weapon system or training program.”
The NGAUS board of directors created the Truman Award in 1968 to recognize national leaders who have made contributions of exceptional and far-reaching magnitude to the defense and security of the United States.
The association normally confers no more than one award annually, unless there are exceptional circumstances. This is the fifth year there have been co-recipients.
NGAUS leaders believe the presentation item conveys the significance they place on the award. It features 13 pewter figurines each sculpted in different poses and meticulously hand-painted to represent minutemen from the original colonies.
Notable recipients include Bob Hope (1972), President Ronald Reagan (1984), retired Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. (1990), Sen Patrick Leahy (2003), Sen. Lindsey Graham (2005) and retired Gen. Mark A. Welsh III (2016).