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U.S. ARMY EVALUATION DETACHMENT,
APO 301, San Francisco, Calif., March 11, 1960. HOUSE VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SIRS : I wish to strongly protest the passage of the peacetime veterans' education bill. Besides putting a burdensome levy upon the taxpayer's pocket, this bill implies that we U.S. citizens must "buy" the services of our peacetime Army with education benefits, etc.
I am presently a Department of the Army civilian serving in Korea. The life that the peacetime GI has now in Korea cannot compare at all with the suffering that his compatriot in the Korea war went through. To provide the ordinary soldier with the same benefits that accrued to his brethren who suffered maiming and hardship years ago is an insult.
I sincerely hope that before this bill has any further life, it be dismissed immediately as of no further benefit to the GI himself or of the average citizen who foots the bill.
Very truly yours,
JOSEPH A. YAKAITIS.
Mr. HALEY. The Honorable Ralph J. Rivers, a Member of Congress from Alaska, the Honorable Leonard G. Wolf, a Member of Congress from Iowa, and the Honorable Wilbur Mills have asked that their statements concerning the legislation under consideration be placed in the record. If there is no objection they will be inserted at this point.
(The statements referred to follow :)
STATEMENT OF Hon. RALPH J. RIVERS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF ALASKA, BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS RE S. 1138, AND RELATED BILLS, TO PROVIDE READJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE TO CERTAIN VETERANS
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I very much appreciate the opportunity of testifying before this committee.
At the outset, I wish to say that I speak in support of the so-called peacetime GI bill generally, and particularly in support of S. 1138, which passed the Senate on July 21, 1959, and is now before this committee for consideration.
I realize that the major issue in regard to this legislation is simply whether or not enactment of a peacetime GI bill would be justifiable. Those who oppose enactment of a new GI bill have undoubtedly argued that the previous GI bills were motivated by a sense of appreciation on the part of the American people for the risks taken and the dangers faced by our young service men and women during World War
and the Korean war, and that such conception does not apply to our so-called peacetime GI's. On the other hand, proponents contend that previous GI benefit programs were primarily the result of a desire of the American people, as manifested by congressional action, to compensate the men and women who served during the two World Wars for the interruption of their normal course of affairs, coupled with an attempt to help them readjust to life as civilians, and that the same consideration should be given to our young people today upon discharge from military service.
Although no one will deny that the legislators who enacted the previous bills fully appreciated the men and women who courageously and capably defended our country during the two world conflicts of this century, the Congress included servicemen who never left the United States during either conflict, and those who were inducted into the service in 1954—when there was no
It is a fact, also, that the popular concept of the program, as emphasized by the various veterans' training agencies, and institutions of higher learning, was that the GI benefits were afforded the veterans so that they might have the opportunity to better their economic and social status through education; an education they might have acquired on their own had they not been deterred from private endeavors through the advent of the two world conflicts. In short, it seems reasonable to conclude that the purpose of the previous veterans' assistance programs was to readjust the veteran upon discharge from the serv. ice via educational opportunity as well as to make up to him the schooling he missed during his time in the service.
Thus the question boils down to whether there is a need to give similar consideration to the present-day peacetime veteran. I believe there is such a need, for the following reasons :
1. Statistics show that a high percentage of the men and women, who in all probability would have at least commenced pursuit of a higher education during the period of time they spent in the service, did not, upon discharge, pursue a higher education because of readiness for marriage and other adult civilian responsibilities.
2. The cost of a higher education has proved to be higher at the termination of a tour of military duty than it was at the outset of such tour. For example, it is reported that the cost of a college education has increased about 10 percent per year in recent years.
3. A high percentage of those inducted into the service marry during the course of their active duty period. Frequently childern are born prior to the discharge, meaning that upon the termination of the tour of duty, the discharged man must secure employment that he might support his family. Pursuit of an education becomes a dream without a GI bill.
4. Today, an education is a necessity. We live in a world where one should be trained in some particular field in order to compete successfully and contribute adequately to society. Since this era of continuing cold war requires a universal military training program, it is a shame that many of those who serve are denied the opportunity to seek their desired state in life because circumstances confronting them upon discharge prohibit such a pursuit.
Furthermore, a peacetime GI bill would enable thousands of these men and women to attain educations which would, through the discovery of particular aptitudes and talents, lead to the graduation of many doctors, lawyers, dentists, physicists, chemists, engineers, et cetera, that our society now needs.
Since Russia launched Sputnik I there has been much discussion of the need to create some type of educational assistance program which would enable us to keep abreast of our potential adversaries in the atomic and space age. Considering that the GI's proved to be serious and diligent students under previous GI bills, it seems to me that another GI assistance bill such as the American public has supported in the past, would be the best solution.
STATEMENT OF Hon. LEONARD G. WOLF, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF IOWA, IN SUPPORT OF PROPOSALS TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL AND OTHER READJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE FOR POST-KOREAN VETERANS
Mr. Chairman, my views on the desirability of the pending legislation were presented fully last year before the Subcommittee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee during the course of its hearings, and my testimony was made a part of the record of hearings by that committee. Therefore, I will not at this time impose unduly on the time of the committee and on the clerical burden of the staff.
I feel very strongly about the necessity of enacting this legislation, and my own bill, H.R. 6932, embodying the principles of the Yarborough bill, which has already passed the Senate, is pending before your committee.
In these days of the cold war, our men in uniform are in uniform for the sole purpose of being ready to defend the country in the event of an emergency. Therefore, they are each day placed in a position of being called upon to give their life, if need be, to protect the rest of us.
In my brief remarks today, I would like to point out the economic aspects of this legislation, which is merely an extension of the GI bill enacted in 1941 to benefit our World War II veterans.
I think the history of the original GI bill provides sufficient reasons for its extension to post-Korean veterans. Through the GI bill, World War II and Korean veterans have become the best educated group of people in the history of United States. Because of the training which they received under this bill their incomes are much larger than they would otherwise have been and they are paying more than an extra billion dollars a year in income taxes.
By 1970, World War II veterans trained under the GI bill will have paid off the entire $15 billion cost of the GI education and training programs through increased income taxes.
Veterans who have taken advantage of the GI loan program have proved themselves to be among the best financial risks in the country. They have become America's largest single group of homeowners; consequently, they pay more
real estate taxes to States, cities, and counties than any other group of equal size. Their record of repayment is unmatched by any other group.
The Veterans' Administration files are filled with case histories of veterans who successfully made the transition from military to civilian life with the help of GI bill benefits.
With the success of the GI bill benefits for World War II and Korean veterans before us, Mr. Chairman, I feel that America cannot afford not to extend these same benefits to the men who have served in the Armed Forces since the Korean conflict.
Not only will the veterans benefit, but the Nation as a whole will benefit. Never before has America faced a greater need for men well trained in the fields of science and technology. It would seem that many of these men who have been well grounded in our modern military technology while in the service would wish to pursue careers in the scientific and technological fields, and such training would be possible for them through the aid of GI bill benefits.
I hope, therefore, that this committee will favorably report legislation to continue readjustment assistance to veterans as long as the military draft law is a part of our national life.
STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN WILBUR D. MILLS IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 4216
It is my conviction that everyone in the United States who believes in our country's past traditions and in her future glory should be willing to make some sacrifice for the national welfare. There are, however, occasions on which sacrifice demands reward. That is why I have introduced H.R. 4216, and why I am here to speak in favor of it today. This bill would make vocational rehabilitation, education and training, and loan guarantee benefits available to post-Korean veterans. In general, it would guarantee continuance of these benefits so long as the draft is continued.
In maintaining a peacetime draft today we are doing what we recognize as an unpleasant, but necessary, duty. We are asking many thousands of our youth to put off their education, and to give up personal and private pleasures, in order to fill the ranks of our military service. These youths are giving up some of the most important and productive years of their lives to maintain our national defenses. I believe they should be compensated in the way, and at the time, most advantageous to them and to the country.
My Readjusment Benefits Act provides for this kind of compensation. The benefits provided in it are of demonstrated value in helping the veteran make the transition to civilian life. By encouraging productivity and stability, they benefit the entire country.
The education and training provisions of this bill are especially vital. Many times military service causes a rupture in a student's education which he alone cannot overcome. By being required to spend a period of years in the service, he must stand aside while his contemporaries pursue their economic, professional, and social goals. He needs assistance in overcoming the hardship resulting from the time he has lost from civilian activity.
The veteran has proved himself a worthwhile recipient of educational aid in terms of ability and performance. Studies which have been made of veteran and nonveteran academic performance almost always end with the conclusion that the veteran is the superior scholar. His education is a worthwhile investment, especially in view of today's need for highly skilled and highly educated manpower.
The Russians know this. They are taking advantage of their veterans' maturity and experience by giving them top priority in admission to universities and institutes. We, of course, cannot do this. It is not the role of the Federal Government to set standards for admission to our institutions of higher learning. But we can and must see to it that these superior young people are not denied an education because of lack of financial means.
In 1955–56 the Bradley Commission made a study of the education and training programs available to veterans. One of the findings submitted in the Commission's final report was that “the veterans' educational program was a major contribution to the national welfare, and the country would be weaker educationally, economically, and in terms of national defense, if educators, veterans' organizations, the President, and the Congress had not seen fit to embark upon this new and momentous educational enterprise."
In addition to education and training provisions, H.R. 426 would make the veterans' vocational rehabilitation program a permanent one. This is an area in which discrimination on the basis of date of induction is particularly unjust. If a person in our armed services suffers a disability he should be entitled to the benefits of this program regardless of when he entered the service. Both the individual and the Nation will benefit by enabling these handicapped servicemen to reenter civilian life as well-adjusted, productive citizens. Medical science has made almost miraculous gains in rehabilitating the sick and injured. It would be foolhardy-almost criminal—not to take full advantage of this progress.
H.R. 4216 also calls for a loan guarantee program similar to the programs for World War II and Korean veterans. It was through this earlier legislation that homeownership became possible for literally millions of America's veterans. The social advantages stemming from this fact are obvious.
Experience has shown us that the loan programs have not been undermined by the irresponsible. Our veterans, as a group, have shown remarkable stability and responsibility. Losses to the Government under the program have been infinitesimal. The record of veterans in meeting their loan obligations has been exceptional.
My bill contains one iinportant provision in regard to the loan guarantee which I believe is warranted under present peacetime conditions. The bill requires that the loan recipient pay a guarantee fee not to exceed 112 percent of the loan amount. This fee would be used to pay the losses of the program, and should, in fact, make it self-sustaining.
This bill which, in simple terms, would extend the GI bill to cover the young people entering the services during the time of the compulsory peacetime draft recognizes that each person who is being separated from the service, whether he has served in war or in peace, will face problems of adjustment which the Federal Government can and should help to alleviate. Passage of this bill would signify the conviction of this Congress that service in our Armed Forces is honorable, courageous, and fully deserving of award.
Although our young servicemen today are not on the battle line, they are no less vital to our survival than were their fathers and older brothers who served before them. It is our duty, I believe, to help them become the strong citizens at home that we would expect them to be on the front.
I strongly urge this committee to give prompt and favorable consideration to the legislation which is now before it. In terms of our national defense, and in terms of our sense of justice, passage of this veterans' legislation is essential.
WENTWORTH MILITARY ACADEMY,
Lexington, Mo., March 16, 1960. Re S. 1138-Cold war veterans' bill. Hon. NEWELL A. GEORGE, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. GEORGE: I was indeed glad to hear from you that a cold war veterans' bill similar to the GI bill which ha now expired is before your committee. I am definitely in favor of this bill for reasons which I shall explain. I further wish to mention that although I am in educational work, the school and college with which I am connected will not profit by the provisions of the bill since our student body is made up of young men who are not veterans; hence, it is with completely unselfish motives that I write. The reasons why I favor the bill are:
(1) The veterans who attended colleges in such great numbers following the passage of the GI bill constituted the most earnest and successful students in the history of our country. This fact can be attested to by any college president or dean.
(2) Educational bills which have been passed with the hearty backing of the whole country point to the continued interest in doing everything possible to further the education of our young people in competition with the tremendous strides made by Russia. The cold war veterans' bill should prove a most valuable spur to education in general.
(3) In my personal experience I have seen many young men who from all indications would never have successfully carried college work, go ahead to make exceptionally fine educational records after the maturing experienc of 2 or more years in service.
(4) With the new, stricter requirements for acceptance into the armed services, an even higher level of intelligence can be anticipated as applied to the young men who would profit by S. 1138.
(5) As past experience indicates, the presence in colleges of a slightly older and more serious group of students can well be expected by competition to raise the level of work of all, and thus achieve those fine results for which we all hope.
I have purposely not enlarged on these specific reasons why S. 1138 can be expected to more than justify the costs involved, and I sincerely hope you may be successful in your endeavors to have this bill passed, and, if necessary, passed over a possible veto. Sincerely yours,
J. M. SELLERS, Superintendent. Mr. HALEY. Thank you, gentlemen. We will stand adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 12:10 p.m., the hearing was concluded on S. 1138 and related bills.)