This last July and August Minnesota’s National Guard Unit, The Red Bulls, returned after twenty-two months of deployment in Iraq. Theirs has been the longest National Guard Unit deployment in the war. In fact, the Red Bulls served a longer tour than any other outfit, including regular Army and Marine units.
This month many of the “Red Bulls” attempted to “get on” with their lives by registering for college courses around the state. There was one problem: when they tried to use Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to help pay for those classes, they found they were not eligible. They could apply for lesser National Guard benefits, but once those are in effect they lose out on the Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits. Oh, yes, they were told in July when they returned the “situation would be addressed.”
What happened? The deployment orders were written for 798 days. This is one day short of the 799 required for soldiers to be eligible for G.I. benefits. It doesn’t affect only education, but there are a whole raft of benefits these soldiers have been robbed of. Backwash – Content – Anything Under the Sun