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(The letter follows:)
PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA, INC.,
Franklin Park, Ill., February 25, 1960. Hon. OLIN TEAGUE, Chairman, Committee on Veterans Affairs, House of Representatives, House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MB. TEAGUE: We urgently recommend favorable consideration by your committee of S. 1138 which would extend educational and vocational training assistance to veterans who served, or will serve between January 31, 1955, and July 1, 1963, or the date of termination of the Universal Military Training and Service Act whichever is latest.
The Paralyzed Veterans of America, which maintains a complete program of service to the paraplegic veteran, has sadly watched veterans totally disabled as a result of their military service during this period, being discharged from the Veterans' Administration hospitals with little hope for gainful employment. Their average age is much less than that of our World War II and Korean predecessors. They have had little or no work experience and less opportunity for formal education.
We believe these veterans have earned the right to resume an education which may have been interrupted, or improve their work experience which may have been delayed as a result of their compulsory military service. We respectfully suggest further, that anyone serving during this period and who has suffered total disability as a result of their military service, be given full veterans status and that such educational and vocational benefits, in addition to all other benefits passed on their behalf, be administered by the Veterans' Administration. Sincerely yours,
HARRY A. SCHWEIKERT, Jr., Legislative Director. Mr. QUIGLEY. Without objection there will be placed in the record a telegram from the Executive Committee of Western College Association, dated February 27, 1960. (The telegram follows:)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., February 27, 1960. Hon. OLIN E. TEAGUE, Chairman, House Veterans' Affairs Committee, House Office Building, Washington, D.C.:
Executive Committee, Western College Association, comprising 55 public and private accredited colleges and universities in California and Hawaii, endorses extension veteran training through enactment Senate bill 1138. Request elimination of proposed unworkable scholastic requirement. Urge this matter be left to institutional determination.
MITCHELL P. BRIGGS, Executive Secretary. Mr. QUIGLEY. Without objection there will be placed in the record a copy of House Resolution No. 16 of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
(The resolution follows:)
HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 16
A resolution memorializing the Congress of the United States to extend Public
Law No. 550, 82d Congress, relating to education and training benefits, to service men and women as long as the draft continues
Whereas the Congress of the United States, expressing the will of the citizenry by the enactment of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (Public Law 346, 78th Cong.) and Veterans' Readjustment Act of 1952 (Public Law 550, 82d Cong.), recognized the justice, equity, and general value of a sound education and training program for the veterans of our country; and
Whereas the legislation enacted to provide such education and training benefits was for the purpose of restoring lost educational opportunities to those men and women who served in the Armed Forces of our country and has accomplished this purpose and has been an immeasurable factor in contributing to the economic security of our veterans and their families as well as to the security of the Nation as a result of the increase in our general educational level and in the professional and technical skills of the veterans; and
Whereas the increased earning power of the veterans directly attributable to the program is resulting in payment of increased income taxes which will more than repay the total cost of the program; and
Whereas, notwithstanding the continuing involuntary military service program, Public Law 7, 84th Congress, denies entitlement to education and training benefits to all veterans who first entered service after January 31, 1955, which is grossly inequitable; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky;
SECTION 1. That the Congress of the United States extend education and training benefits similar to the benefits provided by Public Law 550, 82d Congress, as amended, to all veterans of our country who served during any period in which involuntary military service is authorized, and urges the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to accomplish this objective;
SEC. 2. That the clerk of the House send attested copies of this resolution to the President of the U.S. Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the chairmen of the Education Committee of each House, and to each member of the Kentucky delegation in the Congress of the United States.
Chief Clerk of the House. Mr. QUIGLEY. Our first witness this morning will be our colleague, the Honorable A. S. J. Carnahan.
You may proceed, Congressman Carnahan.
STATEMENT OF HON. A. S. J. CARNAHAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI
Mr. CARNAHAN. Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to appear in support of S. 1138, similar to the bill I introduced in the House, H.R. 11090, to make educational benefits available to all veterans whether or not they served during a period of war or of armed hostilities.
Ample evidence was given of the value in increased productivity to the Nation and in increased taxes to the Government through the World War II GI bill of rights. Peacetime draftees and volunteers who have been on extended active duty have made and will continue to make a real contribution toward enabling our country to maintain peace and toward meeting its commitments and responsibilities to our allies. They are entitled to basic readjustment benefits which will enable them to return to civilian life and become useful and productive members of their communities. These so-called peacetime veterans are entitled to at least some of the opportunities lost by military service. It is clear that their military service, in most instances, interrupted the pursuit of education or a career in civilian life.
As a believer in education, having been in the educational field prior to coming to Congress, I was gratified to find that the Census Bureau reported a substantial increase in earnings of veterans of World War II. That report showed that the median income of World War II veterans was once lower than the median income of a comparable age group of nonveterans, but that the median income of veterans has now gone up and surpassed that of the nonveterans. Credit for raising the earning capacity of the veterans as compared to the nonveterans, which in return raised the taxpaying ability of veterans as compared to nonveterans, was due to the GI bill of rights training they received. Due to this training the Government is in position to receive back in
taxes more money than the training has cost because of the increased skills and earning capacity:
This program after having been so successful should not be abandoned. There has been an outstanding record of adjustment to civilian life among ex-GI's, made possible by veterans' benefits. Educational opportunities provided peacetime draftees and volunteers will enable the individual to connect learning with life and make possible repayment of the capital invested in them. Earning power will be increased, standards of living will be raised, a productive contribution will be made to the Nation and will result in a great responsibility toward and appreciation of the land in which we live. I supported the World War II GI bill of rights and I urge the committee to report this legislation for which there is an increasing demand.
Mr. QUIGLEY. Thank you, Mr. Carnahan.
Mr. Burgess, I believe you will be the next witness, and I believe you are accompanied by Dr. Stanford and Mr. Ballantyne.
STATEMENT OF CARTER L. BURGESS, MEMBER, NATIONAL DE
FENSE COMMITTEE, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. BURGESS. I am afraid, like the committee, Mr. Chairman, that I am the only person present, because of the weather conditions this morning
Mr. QUIGLEY. You are to be congratulated for making it.
Mr. Quigley. We are glad to have you here and hope, even though we are few in number, our interest is still very much alive and keen.
Mr. Burgess, Chairman Quigley and members of the Committee, if it is your pleasure I have a 5-minute statement which I would like to give and if at any time you wish to stop me, I am quite prepared for that.
My name is Carter L. Burgess. I appear on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States as a member of its national defense committee. I am also past Assistant Secretary for Manpower of the Department of Defense.
To have appeared with me today was Dr. Henry King Stanford, president of Birmingham-Southern College, but I will have to ask that his statement be filed on behalf of the chamber. Together we were to be here to discuss S. 1138 and similar legislation now before this committee and to state for you the national chamber's position on such legislation.
I would like to discuss S. 1138 and similar legislation now before this committee, and state the national chamber's position on such legislation.
I would like to discuss the effect of this legislation on the armed services.
Dr. Stanford's statement will deal with the effect of such programs on our institutions of higher learning, the questionable need for a program of educational and vocational training for peacetime veterans, the cost of the programs, and the undesirability of establishing a precedent for such a program.
The national chamber opposes enactment of S. 1138, authorizing educational benefits for purely peacetime military service, because the proposed benefits are unnecessary, cannot be justified, and would not be in the Nation's best interest.
We take this position for the following reasons:
(1) Service to one's country is a citizen's obligation that should be performed willingly.
(2) Because of the rapidly increasing pool of draft-age manpower, and the diminishing military manpower requirements, any young man who really wants a college education can count on completing his studies before having to enter military service. In fact, the armed services cannot now utilize all of the available manpower. So thousands of young men may be required to complete only 6 months of active duty and many young men will not have to serve at all.
(3) The Reserve Forces Act of 1955 provides for over 30 different ways whereby a young man can fulfill his military obligations.
I might just veer there for a minute to state that in my time before the various committees of this Congress, the Congress in those years that I happened to have the pleasure of serving in Washington provided many of those choices, which if undertaken at the right time in a young man's life would fully provide him with a plan to work out his education and to get on about the other aspects of his private life.
So I think the Congress has done a good job with the Defense Department in providing him a convenient way by which a young man can undertake military service.
Most of these various options available make it possible for a young man to complete his college education before rendering service.
(4) Most important of all, the proposed benefits would encourage many young men to leave military service in order to take advantage of them. This would impede the efforts of Congress and the Defense Department to increase the attractiveness of military service as a career and to improve the reenlistment rate of the enlisted technicians w are so vital in our space and defense forces.
It should be remembered that the current cutoff date (January 31, 1955) for eligibility for the very liberal educational benefits authorized for Korean war benefits was established primarily because a survey disclosed that a very large percentage of the enlisted personnel leaving the services at that time were doing so in order to take advantage of the educational benefits.
If I might leave my statement again, gentlemen, my memory seems to recall to me that when the breakoff date for those Korean benefits was announced as January 31, 1955, the word got around the country that a man could enlist before January 31 and still enjoy the benefits that would be available up to that date.
I asked the Defense Department last night to give me the initial voluntary enlistment rates for January 1954, January 1955, which was the month just prior to that final date, and the enlistment for February 1955, which was after the date.
If I may give those figures to this committee, in January 1954 initial voluntary enlistments for the month were 38,000; in January 1955, which was the last month before the cutoff date the number was 68,000; and in February 1955, which was the first month after the cutoff date, voluntary enlistments were 24,000.
I submit those figures as ones given to me by the Defense Department and which validate my memory that a lot of young men elected to get into the services to get a benefit which was going to be an attraction for them to leave at the end of that first term of enlistment.
Now, to go back to my statement.
The President of the United States, in his budget message for 1961, said:
* One additional benefit should be added, in accord with my earlier recommendations: a program of vocational rehabilitation for those with substantial service-connected disabilities. On the other hand, I oppose the establishment of special educational and loan guarantee programs for peacetime ex-servicemen.
The National Chamber of Commerce supports the views of the President.
As a past Assistant Secretary for Manpower in the Department of Defense, I have been tremendously impressed and heartened by the July 1959 report of the Department of Defense titled “Recent Enlisted Personnel Trends," and I have studied that report, which I have with me.
This report cites the major personnel accomplishments recently achieved by the Department of Defense—and I might add again to my statement, only with the help and support of the Congress, which provided the basic legislation—which include improved recruitment, higher reenlistment rates, an increased experience level, better mental quality, and fewer disciplinary cases.
It is a gratifying report, and represents the effect of the action the Congress has taken in enacting the military pay bill of 1958, granting the authority to raise induction standards in Public Law 85-561, and in enacting many other pieces of legislation in the general neighborhood of those two dates.
These actions on the part of the Congress enabled the Department of Defense to improve enlistment and retention standards, accomplish early release of low-potential personnel, and to enlarge its retraining and education
programs. The wide range of programs undertaken by the Department of Defense in the past several years to strengthen the quality and experience level of the military force is already bearing fruit, as reflected in the increasing reenlistment trend in all services.
It is most important to avoid new legislation--and I would like to emphasize this new legislation which could undermine the efforts of the armed services to build an efficient military force having welltrained and experienced personnel required to fight with today's highly complex weapons.
Despite the marked improvement in reenlistment rates as average, reenlistment rates in certain technical and combat leadership skills have been below the optimum rates required.
Gentlemen, if I might add, I think that will be the case for a long time to come.
The services are doing everything possible to correct imbalances in the skills structure. Programs for retraining and reassignment of qualified career personnel from surplus to shortage skills are under