9/11 National Guard Responders From NY Deserve Fair Treatment
WASHINGTON, DC - Several hundred soldiers from the New York Army National Guard who responded to the World Trade Center site after the September 11th terrorist attacks are not receiving the military retirement benefits they deserve. Many of the soldiers who guarded Ground Zero after the attacks were not officially put on federal active duty; as a result, they did not receive federal military retirement credit for their more than 300 days of service. Other soldiers from the same unit were activated under federal duty to help secure the U.S. Military Academy, and have received the appropriate retirement credit. Clearly, all National Guard troops who served during this unprecedented national emergency deserve equal status.
To correct this inequity, Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) have introduced legislation to ensure that all National Guard soldiers who responded to counties declared disaster areas after the terrorist attacks will receive federal military retirement credit for that service (HR 948). Joining in the legislation as cosponsors are New York Representatives Gary Ackerman (D), Maurice Hinchey (D), Tim Bishop (D), Jerrold Nadler (D), José Serrano (D), Charles Rangel (D), Edolphus Towns (D), Nita Lowey (D), Carolyn McCarthy (D), and Michael McNulty (D).
Congresswoman Maloney said, “The brave National Guard troops who responded at Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks deserve the benefits that their fellow soldiers will receive for serving at other key locations after 9/11. They were all serving our country, and we need to show our gratitude by giving them the retirement benefits to which they are entitled.”
BACKGROUND: The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were an unprecedented event in American history. At Ground Zero in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia, thousands of first responders, including members of the National Guard, worked during the following days and weeks to help with rescue, cleanup, and security efforts.
The 1st Battalion was the first National Guard unit to arrive at Ground Zero. In the hours after the attacks, the Battalion assisted medical teams treating the wounded and participated in rescue and recovery operations. The Battalion worked through the night and into the morning of September 12th, when they were directed to help secure the perimeter around the World Trade Center site. The Battalion continued this mission for 315 days. Many members of the 1st Battalion are now arriving in Iraq, having recently departed New York, for a tour of duty in the ongoing conflict there.
These soldiers were not serving under federal active duty. As a result, their days of service do not count toward their military retirement credit. However, other Companies in the 1st Battalion were activated under federal duty and served at West Point to help with its security. Because all of these National Guard members clearly aided in the federal response, they should all have those days counted toward their military retirement credit.