9/11 National Guard Will Receive Retirement Credit
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), who have helped lead the effort to secure the retirement credit, today praised the Congressional action to correct this problem. Senator Clinton and Reps. Maloney and King (R-NY), with other members of the New York delegation, had introduced legislation in the Senate and House to award retirement credits for National Guard service at Ground Zero in response to 9/11.
“I'm delighted that Congress accepted our arguments for those brave men and women of the National Guard who gave their all after the September 11th attacks,” said Senator Clinton, who as a DoD Authorization conferee lobbied the joint Senate-House conference to have the legislation included in the final version of the FY 2006 Department of Defense Authorization Bill. “In the aftermath of 9/11, we relied on the members of the New York National Guard to help protect sensitive sites throughout the State, and they continue to play a crucial role in our homeland security. With this legislation, we are insuring that Guard members who served at Ground Zero, often for extended periods, will be awarded federal retirement credits.”
“With this action, we have righted one of the obvious remaining wrongs left over from 9/11,” said Maloney. “The National Guard was integral to the security and rescue effort in lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks, and they deserve full retirement credit for their heroic work. I am very appreciative of my colleague from New York, Congressman McHugh, for his hard work on this in the Armed Services Committee, and I also thank Congressmen Hunter, Skelton and Snyder from the committee for their understanding and action on this issue. I am proud to have worked closely with my friend Peter King to achieve this victory.”
“It is fundamentally unfair that soldiers from the same Battalion are being compensated differently for their September 11th related service,” said King. “Providing federal retirement credits to all members of the National Guard who served in disaster area after September 11th is simply the right thing for Congress to do.”
Several hundred soldiers from the National Guard who responded to the World Trade Center site after the September 11th terrorist attacks have not received 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.
Many of the same soldiers who protected New York after 9/11 are now serving courageously in Iraq. Sixteen members of the Manhattan-based 69th National Guard Regiment have died in the Iraq war - eight in the past year alone. In April, six members of the 69th Regiment were awarded Purple Hearts after being wounded in Iraq by roadside bombs.
The legislation that passed today provides all National Guard soldiers who performed full-time State active duty service on or after September 11, 2001 and before October 1, 2002, in support of a Federal declaration of emergency following the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, with federal military retirement credit for that time served in the following covered disaster counties: (1) In the State of New York: Bronx, Kings, New York (boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan), Queens, Richmond, Delaware, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester; (2) In the State of Virginia: Arlington.
Joining Representatives Maloney and King on the original House legislation to provide the National Guard with federal retirement credit for 9/11 service (H.R. 2499) were New York Members of Congress Gary Ackerman (D), Vito Fossella (R), Maurice Hinchey (D), Steve Israel (D), Nita Lowey (D), Carolyn McCarthy (D), Major Owens (D), José Serrano (D), and Edolphus Towns (D).