On Monday, an angry U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro of Connecticut joined Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal at Southern Connecticut State University to discuss U.S. Department of Defense officials "breaking the law" by failing to notify some reservists they qualify for education benefits.
The military has been lying to Reserve and Guard troops about their education benefits when they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many troops are told if they quit drilling they lose their GI Bill benefits.
Retention officers claim this to retain the numbers in Guard and Reserve units – to keep them in a deployment ready status.
These are benefits already earned by the veteran, they cannot be held over a veteran’s head for retention issues. The truth is that Guard and Reserve troops are eligible for their benefits – equal to the time they were activated, plus four months.
Since reporters pinged the DoD press office – they have now added new information to their website acknowledging the fact that Guard and Reserve troops are eligible for GI Bill – even if they stop drilling.
This was brought to light following the hard work and solid determination of Giacomo "Jack" Mordente, director of veterans affairs at SCSU. Mordente is continuing to press officials to make this more widely known.
Now, the DoD need to make every effort to inform returning Guard and Reserve soldiers the truth about their GI Bill. But what about those who were already turned away? They need to know too.
This is a national issue. The national press and local news around the country should consider reporting on this.
Here are some links to coverage of Monday's SCSU press conference.
New Haven Register
New Haven Independent