Thursday, December 13, 2007

When is a Veteran not a Veteran

Another case of Reserve bias – recently approached and asked about a headstone for a Reserve soldier that was Reserve entire career. The Reservist did not die on active duty and did not retire from the reserves. Only duty performed on active duty was for Basic training and Desert Storm…both served honorably but neither up to 24 months. Entitled to a headstone or marker ? The answer is no …and would remain so even if deployed several more times

From the VA site the regulation is specific in its intent to not provide for reserve and guard soldiers


MEMORIAL HEADSTONE OR MARKER - Furnished upon application for installation in a cemetery only to commemorate any eligible veteran whose remains have not been recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and the remains scattered; may not be used as a memento.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE - Any deceased veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A copy of the deceased veteran's discharge certificate (DD Form 214 or equivalent) or a copy of other official document(s) establishing military service must be attached. Service after September 7, 1980, must be for a minimum of 24 months continuous active duty or be completed under special circumstances, e.g., death on active duty. Persons who have only limited active duty service for training while in the National Guard or Reserves are not eligible unless there are special circumstances, e.g., death while on active duty, or as a result of training.


Another policy which should be relooked considering the changed nature of Guard and Reserve duty.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The VA only enforces what Congress allows ... public law defines "veteran" ... if you want to the law changed, contact your congressman. I'm a fellow Reservist and a VA employee ... while I'm allowed treatment due to a veteran status I received from my active duty time and recent deployment, I do agree the treatment of a career reservist/NG needs to be reevaluated. But our law makers are the ones who would tackle that issue, not the VA.

Noonie said...

And yet another benefit that apparently I'm no longer eligible for--like so many other Reservists! It doesn't seem too long ago that I received a notice that a Retired Reservist was still eligible for a marker upon death. Oh well--sounds like my 22 years didn't mean anything except now I'm finally getting my pension.

Anonymous said...

Soldier is eligible if he served on AD during Gulf war: http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm/hmelig.asp
Any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. With certain exceptions, service beginning after September 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and service after October 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 months or the full period for which the person was called to active duty. (Examples include those serving less than 24 months in the Gulf War...