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Support bill to designate all who served as veterans

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Most members of Congress and many National Guard and Reserve members and their families may not know that a Reservist can complete a full Guard or Reserve career, qualify for retirement pay, but not earn the title of "Veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States," unless the member has served on Title 10 Active duty for other than training purposes.

The Honor America's Guard-Reserve Retirees Act of 2011 would authorize Veteran status under Title 38 for National Guard and Reserve members of the Armed Forces who are entitled to a non-regular retirement under Chapter 1223 of 10 USC, but were never called to Active federal service during their careers -- through no fault of their own.

Some National Guard members now protecting our airspace and Southwestern border on Title 32 orders may one day retire from the Guard but will not qualify to be Veterans of our Armed Forces because Unit Training Assembly (drill) training, annual training, and Title 32 active duty for training are not qualifying service for Veteran status.

I urge our elected officials to support and co-sponsor S.491 or H.R.1025 to honor those who served a career in National Guard or Reserves but were never ordered to Title 10 Active service. This cost neutral bill would not bestow any benefits other than the honor of claiming Veteran status for those who honorably served but were never ordered to Title 10 Active service. Please contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support this effort to honor our National Guard and Reserve personnel for their service to our state and Nation. -- Tom Mortenson, Detroit Lakes

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