Wednesday, January 30, 2008

VFW State Commander Praises Representative Buchanan’s Co-Sponsorship of H.R. 4930 National Guardsman and Reservists Parity for Patriots Act

After learning that Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL 13) agreed to sponsor H.R. 4930, Vietnam veteran Jack McDermott, State Commander of Florida’s Veterans of Foreign Wars issued the followed statement: “I’m incredibly pleased that Mr. Buchanan continues to support our Florida Guardsman and Reservists by co-sponsoring this important bill, which will significantly modernize the Reserve Component retirement system.”

Under the current system, a member of the National Guard or Reserves is not eligible to receive retirement until he or she reaches age 60. Recently enacted legislation reduces the age at which a Reservist can draw retired pay below the age of 60 by three months for every aggregate 90-days of active duty service in support of a contingency operation. However, the Congress failed to make this provision retroactive to September 11, 2001, H.R. 4930 addresses this injustice by making the changes to the system retroactive to the beginning of the War on Terrorism.

McDermott added, “This is clearly the right thing to do for the over 600,000 reservists and members of the National Guard who have been mobilized in support of the war on terrorism.”

Steve Valley, a Sergeant Major in the Army Reserve and Commander of VFW Post 12055 in Bradenton, Fla. said, “Congressman Buchanan has shown time and time again that he’s sensitive to the needs of Citizen-Warriors. I was incredibly disappointed to learn that the bill signed by the President was not retroactive to September 11, 2001, as thousands of Reservists and Guardsmen across the country have served proudly on active duty while putting their civilian careers, there families and education on hold.

Valley served as a First Sergeant in Iraq and knows first hand of the sacrifices that the families of the deployed troops pay during deployments to a combat zone. “I hope the Congress quickly passes this bill. The 10,000 Floridians in the Army Reserve and National Guard activated, including the men and women in the National Guard units in Bradenton and Sarasota, deserve no less,” Valley said.

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