WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18) and TJ Cox (CA-21) today introduced the bipartisan Forgotten Vietnam Veterans Act to extend wartime veterans benefits, including the Veterans Pension and health care, to the US Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG).
“The men and women who put on the uniform to defend our nation during the Vietnam War made the decision to put country before self. We will never be able to repay them for their sacrifice, but ensuring those who served in Vietnam have access to the benefits they earned is the least we can do,” Rep. Mast said. “That’s what this bill is all about.”
The US Military Assistance Advisory Group included more than 3,000 officers and enlisted individuals who served during the Vietnam War but are currently ineligible for many of veterans benefits. The Forgotten Vietnam Veterans Act would fix this by changing the recognized start of the Vietnam War era from 1961 to 1955. This change would cover the US Military Assistance Advisory Group as Vietnam War Veterans, making them eligible to begin receiving benefits.
“Anyone who has served our country in times of war deserves our respect and the benefits they earned,” Rep. Cox said. “The brave servicemen in the US Military Assistance Advisory Group have not been given the benefits they are entitled to. This legislation will right that wrong.”
The Forgotten Vietnam Veterans Act is also supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.
“More than 3,000 veterans served in Vietnam from November 1, 1955 to February 27, 1961, ten of whom were killed in action,” Matthew Doyle, Associate Director National Legislative Service for Veterans of Foreign Wars said. “However, veterans who served in Vietnam prior to February 28, 1961 are not considered wartime veterans and likewise are ineligible for certain VA benefits. The VFW is proud to support this legislation, which would change the statutory definition of Vietnam veteran to include those who served in the Republic of Vietnam beginning on November 1, 1955.”
The legislation is attached.
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