by Congressman Mike Turner
In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln urged the nation in his Second Inaugural Address to, “Care for him who has borne the battle.” President Lincoln’s words reflect a strong tradition in the United States of caring for those who serve in uniform. Today, this core commitment is reflected in programs providing tuition assistance for veterans to attend college, or ensuring that military personnel have access to first-rate health care. As your advocate in Washington, I am committed to protecting the interests of veterans in our community and across our nation.
As thousands of soldiers return home each month from deployments around the world it is imperative that these brave men and women are aware of the many resources available to them. The Department of Veterans Affairs administers a wide range of benefits to returning veterans. Many of these programs have evolved over time to meet the changing needs of America’s servicemen and women.
The modern war zone has changed dramatically from that in past conflicts. Soldiers on the battlefield today face a variety of new threats, but also benefit greatly from the U.S. military’s enhanced ability to quickly evacuate and treat wounded warriors. As a result, many returning veterans now require extensive health and vocational rehabilitation after their service. New programs have been developed and expanded to provide the services needed to assist soldiers in their recovery.
For veterans returning home to the Third Congressional District, there are a number of resources available to aid in their transition. One such asset is the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), which offers an array of care for those requiring medical and rehabilitative services. An additional source of assistance for returning veterans from our area is the recently opened Transition Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. This facility is the result of a joint effort between the Dayton VAMC and the Department of Defense, and is designed to streamline the process for members from all branches of the military transitioning from active duty to veteran status. The center is staffed by VA benefits personnel, and works to educate new veterans on the variety of services available to them. For more information, please call the Transition Center at (937) 257-3592.
Other important programs administered through the Department of Veterans Affairs include educational and employment benefits. I supported a new Montgomery GI Bill that later became law and provides extensive tuition and living assistance for veterans wishing to attend college or receive job training. Veterans are eligible to receive G.I. Bill benefits for up to fifteen years after leaving active duty. Another important feature of this new GI bill also provides veterans with the ability to transfer their unused benefits to their spouses and children. More information about all of these programs can be found on the Veterans Benefits Administration website, www.vba.va.gov, or by calling (800) 827-1000.
It is a great honor for me to represent the interests and needs of local veterans in Washington. My service on the House Armed Services Committee allows me to work daily with the challenges that face our nation’s military service members and our veterans. Additionally, I have supported key pieces of legislation such as the Wounded Warriors Assistance Act, which reduced red tape and improved medical care for returning service members, particularly those recovering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. For two terms, I served on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs where I worked in a bipartisan way to address the needs of our nation’s vets. My past work on that committee ensures that I will remain focused on local and national issues that impact veterans.
All of these programs are designed to honor returning veterans for their service and sacrifice by aiding them in all aspects of their transition from active duty. Case workers in my Dayton office are available to assist veterans with specific issues or concerns regarding the federal government’s role in this process, and can be contacted at (937) 225-2843.