RESUMING EDUCATION AFTER DEFENSE SERVICE (READS) ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 14, 2004)
SPEECH OF HON. JIM MATHESON OF UTAH
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2004
Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Speaker, tonight I am introducing legislation to assist a number of soldiers across the nation, based on stories I heard from Reservists in my home state of Utah. These Reservists served honorably in U.S. operations in Afghanistan over the past few years. Over two separate activations, they served 24 months on active duty in the Marine Corps. When they finally returned home, it was to find out that they fell under a loophole within the Montgomery GI Bill. They were ineligible for educational benefits for Reservists, because while they served the requisite 24 months on active duty, their service was not consecutive.
I think that at a time when our nation and our military is increasingly relying upon Reservist contributions for extended periods of time, Reservists have certainly earned the same educational benefits that they would be entitled to if their service had been for 24 straight months.
As a result, my legislation will change the criteria for Montgomery GI Bill eligibility to include at least 2 years of cumulative active duty service over a period of 5 continuous years. It will apply to Reservists activated between 9/11 and the end of 2006, in order to accommodate those who are serving honorably in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I truly thank the Marine Corps Reservists of Fox Company for bringing this issue to my attention, and for their service to this great Nation.