U.S. Guard and Reserve Members are Officially ‘Veterans’

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9, 2017
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How do you define a veteran? It’s a question many of us probably never considered. But for millions of retired National Guard members and Army Reservists, it is a matter of great honor. Up until recently – December 2016 to be exact – they couldn’t officially call themselves “veterans” unless they had served at least 180 days of active duty on federal orders. Regardless of how much time you devoted to honorably supporting the Armed Forces, how many U.S. Guard and Reserve Members are Officially ‘Veterans’hours of training or deployments they experienced, there always remained a delineation line between full-time soldiers and reservists.

For many reservists, this felt like a bit of a slight, since they had willingly volunteered countless hours of their lives to prepare to serve if needed, to fill any empty roles left when full-time servicemen and women were deployed, and to basically complete any task asked of them. It was understandably strange to have dedicated so much of one’s life to the U.S. Armed Forces, and yet not be entitled to call oneself a veteran.

All this changed at the end of 2016, when President Barack Obama signed into law the Miller-Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Act, a bill aimed at improving veterans’ access to health care, disability benefits, education, and homelessness assistance, among other important benefits for U.S. veterans. One measure included in the bill changed the guidelines for who could be officially called a “veteran,” expanding the government’s definition to include Guard and Reservists who have honorably served for at least 20 years.

While there is no financial benefit associated with this change – retired Guard members would already be collecting their reserve component retirement benefits after 20 years of service – many feel this change exhibits the government’s understanding of and appreciation for the role that Nation Guard members and reservists play in supporting the larger infrastructure of the U.S. armed forces.  Additionally, long-serving reservists and Guard members no longer have to worry about whether or not they can officially call themselves “veterans,” but instead accept this gesture as confirmation of how important their roles have been in global conflicts for decades.

The National Guard of the United States is composed of National Guard military members or units of each state and territory in the United States. Members are citizen-soldiers who train part time, close to home, until needed, typically maintaining civilian jobs during the work week. The Guard is under dual control from state and federal governments, and mobilizes to protect U.S. domestic interests in times of conflict or natural disaster. Members may be deployed internationally alongside full-time troops as needed. Today's National Guard consists of approximately 384,422 troops.

The U.S. Army Reserve provides operational capability and strategic depth to the larger Army, accounting for 20% of the Army’s maneuver support and delivering significant Army mobilization and expansion capability. When not on active duty, reserve soldiers typically perform Battle Assembly training/service once a month and for two continuous Annual Training weeks at some time during the year.

Today, retired reservists and National Guard members can hold their heads a little higher, knowing that the U.S. government has officially declared what they have always known. They served their country proudly and honorably, their work was important the success of countless U.S. military operations through the decades, and that they stood ready to protect this republic.

Written By Megan Hammons

U.S. Guard and Reserve Members are Officially ‘Veterans’

14 Responses to “U.S. Guard and Reserve Members are Officially ‘Veterans’”

  1. Steve Klein says:

    Our stories are a little similar. Enlisted 1972, AIT at Fort Benjamin Harrison 1973 getting my 74F MOS and starting a long career in computer programming and later database application development in both civilian and military (Nebraska Army National Guard). After 35 years of service, retired from the guard in 2008. Upon age 60, I'm collecting my retirement benefit and my state allows me to have 'veteran' on my license, but the VA denies me health benefits because I "did not serve over 180 days active duty" - a requirement for anyone enlisting after 01Sep1980. My PEBD is 23Sep1974 due to a one year break in service but the VA only looks at the last (re) enlistment date which was 22Sep1980. So, six years of service are disregarded by the VA, and they don't honor your PEBD.

  2. JamesEarl JonesJr says:

    I joined the tx army national guard co b 949th bn
    On Jan

  3. JamesEarl JonesJr says:

    I've been repeatedly denied medical treatments homeless programs and totally disrespected I served for 4yrs& 6mos was given a honorable discharge from u.s army and And a general under honorable conditions.

  4. ppc marbella says:

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are
    added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve
    4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there a way you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks!

  5. Erin Hunter says:

    My name is Thomas A Hunter in February 1982, I took the test to join the Army. I was informed that I scored to low for the army, but my score was passable to get into the army Reserve's. I was informed by the recruiter that if I took to active duty the Reserves, I could transfer to active duty status after basic and Ait. Well after 6 yrs of trying and failing to get in the regular army. I was discharge from the Reserve unit with an Honorable discharge. Even though I never acquired enough retirement points, because I was with the recruit trying to get into active duty. Well my heart was always Army, but my intelligence was not good enough to achieve my dreams. I passed basic training and eventually getting my mos as a 91B10 basic medical specialist, be for that I failed the dentist assistant course , I was ok with that. I always wanted a combat position ,a desire I never lost. But I have never accomplished my dream and desire to go to jump school, and ranger training. I am 54 yrs old now 17 seems so far off that was the age I joined seems like I failed in life for not being able and or allowed to accomplish that goal . For apparently not being smart enough I received a pro motion once E-2 to E- 3 with a e-6 position ? E-3X E_6 it was in my orders for drill sargeant canidid school for which I was never sent nor did I get my promotion. when I received my Honorable dicharge my rank was E-2 I never understood why the recruiter kept swithing my units because he was trying to get me active but some how this hurt my retirement ratings. I guess the hard thing to under stand is I took an oath for my country .served for 6yrs ready 24/ 7 to be called when needed. I am also not even considered a real veteran not given the honors of a soldier active or reserve soldiers of this country , funny thing is if I got killed or hurt on active duty training than I would be a true veteran but be cause I served my 6yrs with out dying or getting cribble I receive a Honorable discharge from active duty training, with a army service ribbon, and a Honorable from reserves status. and not consider a real veteran nor the honors of a soldier. I am a son of a Marine veteran, Iam also a proud father of two marine Veterans my Daughter is a marine combat vet/ disable. I served during the cold war era the war against drugs, ( lost one son to drug addiction) . I was in during the falk land engagement and when the panama campain , and in when the gernada gernada invasion was going on. I was never called upon but I was available and ready . I just telling my side and will tell of two instances in basic training.

  6. Klaudia says:

    Thanks to the great guide

  7. Robert Stegner says:

    I Was In The US Army Reserves From 1969 To1978 Can I Get Any VA Benefits ?

  8. Well the title is nice, but it still doesn’t give us the benefits the real army gets, ie hearing aids and etc.

  9. Kevin says:

    Damn. Those reservist and NG most time cannot find a stable jobs so this is messed up

  10. Robert. Perdue says:

    I was reject health care and was not able to get snot to get a Va job as a Guard or Reservist ,until i got a service connected disability rating of 20 % in 1996.serve from 1982 to 1988

  11. J. Crowder says:

    My husband passed away last month. He received an honorable discharge from the AF Reserves and was called to active duty during the Vietnam War. Although he never left the state, he was forced to leave his employment for a fraction amount of money. I have been trying to get a military marker for his grave and was told he did not qualify because he was in training! For two years?? Any suggestions on what can be done? I don't want his grave to be without a marker while waiting who knows how long to get an answer.

    • nadine Brewer says:

      They changed these laws in 2016. Anyone who was on active duty for more than 180 hours I think it said is eligible for veterans benefits. Please argue, fight tooth and nail about this. Obama signed this into law in 2016. Check into this right away.

      • William says:

        It's 90 days and if your husband was active duty during the war it will state that on a DD-214 or a reserve discharge paperwork stating active duty service with his total service time.

  12. William Brown says:

    It's 90 days and if your husband was active duty during the war it will state that on a DD-214 or a reserve discharge paperwork stating active duty service with his total service time.

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