As an active member of Amvets and a supporter of our armed forces, I urge others to join me in supporting our National Guard and Reserve troops by moving S. 491, the Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act of 2011, out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and to the floor for a full vote.

This cost-neutral bill, which would not bestow any additional benefits, would authorize veteran status for National Guard and Reserve members who are entitled to a reserve retirement at age 60, but were never called to active federal service (Title 10) during their careers.

Drill training, annual training, active duty for training and Title 32, including border patrol duty, are currently not qualifying service to earn veteran status.

These individuals, designated as military retirees, already are entitled to military retired pay, Tricare health coverage and many other veterans benefits, and therefore deserve to be recognized as veterans of the armed forces of the United States.

While H.R.1025, the House version of this bill, was passed a year ago this week, the Senate committee has been unable to move this bill forward.

With Veterans Day fast approaching, now is the time to urge the members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to expeditiously move this bill forward and to support its passage into law. Our career National Guard and Reserve members deserve nothing less.

Ronald Roussel

South Gardiner

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