Page images

allowances for the unemployed, as well as vocational rehabilitation of the service-connected disabled. Bills were accordingly introduced in that Congress but no final action was taken.

In national convention assembled at Los Angeles, Calif., October 9 to 12, 1950 the American Legion reaffirmed its stand that these benefits be provided. S. 714 was introduced January 29, 1951; and H. R. 1217 was introduced January 9, 1951. . Section 3 of each of these bills reads as follows:

Title VI of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, as amended, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new section :

"SEC. 1508. For the purposes of this Act, active military, naval, or air service on or after June 27, 1950, and prior to such date as shall thereafter be determined by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress, shall afford basic right to all benefits provided by titles II, III, and V of this Act, subject to the provisions, conditions, and limitations thereof, except as follows:

“(1) With respect to such benefits based upon service as prescribed herein, the basically prescribed time limitations, which are measured with reference to the termination of World War II, shall instead be measured with reference to the aforesaid termination of the period beginning June 27, 1950 ;

“(2) Additional benefits may be afforded under title V without charging against the maximum entitlement benefits which have been received prior to the enactment of this section, subject to the limitation that the aggregate entitlement authorized by this section alone or in combinaion with any entitlement acquired prior to the enactment of this section, and remaining available, shall not exceed the maximum specified in title V;

“(3) Any person eligible for benefits under this section who, at the time of such service, was not a citizen of the United States shall be afforded such benefits only while a resident of a State, itory, or possession of the United States or of the District of Columbia."

This, gentlemen, is the legislation which the American Legion deems to be of paramount importance to assure full readjustment advantages to the men and women serving their country in the present emergency.

These hearings being for the purpose, however, of securing the viewpoint of those interested in education and training for veterans for the information of this committee in its deliberations concerned with the bill S. 1940, Eighty-second Congress, I shall at this time present the Legion's views on this particular question only.

Title II of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 laid a sound foundation for education and training of veterans. Experience showed the need for some amendments which Congress in its wisdom saw fit to enact. There might still be some desirable refinements which would be beneficial. It must be said, however, that the great good which has resulted has so impressed the American Legion that this organization sincerely hopes that, after hearing all the testimony, after carefully considering all of the proposals in S. 1940, this committee will find it is in the best interest of the veterans of the present emergency and of all of the people of the United States, who are deeply concerned with the welfare of these men and women, to provide education and training benefits within the framework of the basic act. Existing provisions of this act have been tried for 7 years; they have not been found wanting.

The distinguished sponsors of S. 1940, Senators George and Kerr, by the introduction of this measure on August 1, 1951, have clearly shown their desire that the Congress provide education and training benefits for veterans of the present emergency. There are restrictions

placed by this bill on the grant of the benefits which the American Legion believes would deter veterans from seeking education or training, would prevent their actual accomplishment of the purpose for which they would desire to avail themselves of the benefit.

One thing must be borne in mind: If education or training is to be provided, it should be under such conditions as will enable the veteran to utilize it most advantageously. It must fit him for his goal. It must so qualify him that he is in best position to fulfill his obligation as an American citizen and that it will assure his making the best possible social and economic adjustment. It is our earnest hope that there will be no limitation in the interest of economy placed upon the education and training program authorized for these veterans.

His own arduous military service in World War II caused our present national commander, Erle Cocke, Jr., to be keenly aware of the conditions under which members of the United States Armed Forces are serving in foreign lands. To obtain first-hand knowledge, he made a quick world tour in the spring, visiting the Far East, the Middle East, and Europe. He visited the combat areas of Korea; talked with American troops stationed throughout the world. He aknows personally that these men and women expect that their country will want them to have the same opportunities to readjust in civil life that were accorded the veterans of World War II.

Commander Cocke was privileged, following this tour, to appear before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on April 25, 1951, when the committee was assembled in a special session called by the chairman, Representative John E. Rankin. Discussing legislative proposals the American Legion had made to this Congress, he emphasized his firm belief that there should be no consideration given to reduction of benefits granted veterans of the present emergency as economy measures just because the world situation has caused such an extensive mobilization that the cost of extending to these veterans benefits granted veterans of the Second World War will perforce be substantial.

The costs of wars are great; benefits to veterans are a very insignificant part of these costs. There is no questioning of the costs of national defense; there should not be. Likewise there should be no economy practiced at the expense of war veterans.

The deadline for most World War II veterans desiring to enter education and training programs under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 was July 25, 1951. Early estimates of the number of these veterans with active service in the Armed Forces between September 16, 1940, and July 25, 1947, who might be expected to take education or training after their return to civilian life were extremely low when compared to actual developments. Practically all persons who served during World War II were eligible. By June 30, 1951,

, a total of 7,532,732 veterans had entered training.

This certainly exceeded the estimate; this showed the need for such a program beyond shadow of a doubt; this revealed a keen desire of veterans to gain technical knowledge or additional skills to enable them to compete more successfully for employment. It is a remarkable figure. Approximately 15,200,000 World War II veterans were living on June 30, 1951; more than one-half of them had been afforded

educational and training opportunities. And an infinitesimal number failed to profit.

Any veteran who was in active service 3 months and was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable earned an entitlement to 1 year of training plus the time he was in active service, up to a maximum of 48 months. This is true regardless of age, need, or whether education or training was interrupted by entrance into service. Tuition is paid for. Books, supplies, and equipment are paid for. Subsistence allowance is paid. This is why so large a number of veterans were in position to engage in the program. They could enter the program with a reasonable expectancy of completing a course fitting them for their employment objective if they pursued it satisfactorily and made progress in accordance with prescribed standards of the school or establishment in which enrolled. It must be said that enrollment of veterans in the program

is attributable to a considerable extent to the sincere desire on the part of educators and public officials in the country to use the education and training as a means of raising the educational level and vocational skills of the veterans. They have realized that the congressional enactment which made this possible made better and more useful citizens of those veterans who were granted the benefit.

The need for education or training for veterans of this present emergency is important in the lives of the men being called; they deserve no less than that which World War II veterans received. For this reason the American Legion is impelled to point out to this committee penalties that it believes would be imposed on this present group of veterans if S. 1940 should be enacted in its present form.

In each of the following provisions of this bill, we take issue because they affect the veteran directly. Veterans of World War II have profited immeasurably from the training afforded them; they have shown good faith in their use of their entitlement under title II of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944. Who dares say that veterans of the present emergency will do lessWe ask, gentlemen, that

you note particularly that each of the proposals I now cite in S. 1940 is a curtailment of education and training benefits.

S. 1940 would provide that1. Entitlement to education or training be established on the basis of 1 month of full-time training for each month of active service.

2. Education or training in excess of 12 months be limited to veterans whose education or training was interrupted by entrance into active service. (A veteran would be deemed to have had education or training interrupted if he had not passed his twenty-third birthday on June 27, 1950, or the date he entered service if later.)

3. Education or training be limited to 12 months where there was no interruption by reason of entry into active service.

4. Course of education or training be initiated not later than 2 years after separation from service or afforded beyond 7 years after the end of the basic service period.

5. Limit the Government's payment of tuition and fees to one-half of the cost up to a maximum of $300.

6. An automatic adjustment in the subsistence allowance in accordance with a preestablished formula be made for trainees taking institutional on-farm, apprentice, or other on-the-job training.

7. Payment be made of less than the proportional amount of fulltime subsistence allowance, supplies, and equipment when the veteran is pursuing a part-time institutional course.

8. Allowance for subsistence, supplies, and equipment to veterans attending courses on less than one-half time basis be eliminated.

We know there are other provisions which will be discussed by witnesses present for this hearing.

The American Legion has never become involved in the execution of contracts between the Veterans Administration and institutions offering training to veterans. We know that both the Veterans Administration and the institutions have had many problems and disagreements. It has been our policy to insist on good training and the proper supervision of both schools and veterans to the end that abuses, frauds, irregularities of any nature be eliminated. We hold no brief for the dishonest veteran and certainly condemn without question dishonest professional educators who became a party to fraudulent practices for the sake of more favorable contracts.

The implication of the above-listed contested provisions is that, through a curtailment of veterans' training benefits, malpractices on the part of schools and State agencies can be controlled. We do not believe this is true.

The American Legion challenges any person or group of persons to prove that the veterans' training program for World War II veterans has been a failure or that any irregularities or abuses are the fault of the veteran. Every abuse which can be traced directly to the veteran has been made possible because some Veterans' Administration manager or supervisor-a school teacher, supervisor, or superintendent; a college professor, dean, or president—or some State agency

has been negligent in permitting conditions to develop which brought the veteran into disrepute. True, the veteran was a party to some of these irregularities; but at no time did he bring them about. The veteran enrolled in the school after it had been approved by both the State and the Veterans' Administration and after a contract had been executed by the Veterans' Administration.

It seems to us unreasonable to attempt the control of abuses through a plan of curtailment of benefits. These restrictions do not get at the heart of abuses. A good "pure-food law” in education which would eliminate the "quacks" in education is the real need, and a curtailment of educational benefits to veterans is not going to accomplish this.

Rackets and fly-by-night schools did not originate during the period of veterans' training. We have always had them with us, and any :small-town superintendent can tell you a story of fraud and misrepresentation that will make some of these veterans' training rackets seem small. Fortunately, too many got into the game at the same time and became exposed. The present challenge for control is really up to professional educators and not up to veterans or the Veterans' Administration.

Senator Ives. May I ask a question there? Just what do you mean by “professional educators?” * You mean the people running the educational establishments in the several States?

Mr. Munson. That is right, sir. I personally feel, Senator Ives, that we have come to the time when professional educators should be willing to propose some kind of State code that will take care of the


establishment of any type of training within a State so as to be sure that there are facilities and proper facilities and proper instructors and so on to administer a sound program.

Senator Ives. You would leave that authority then, that determination, at the State level and not have it within the Federal control or set-up?

Mr. MUNSON. The American Legion has gone on record for many years, Senator Ives, as favoring State control of education.

Senator Ives. I am acquainted somewhat with the American Legion, but I am trying to get it clear in this particular instance. · Mr. MUNSON. Yes, sir.

The good faith of veterans, training under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, is measurable. Let us examine a few statistics.

On June 30, 1951, the last Veterans' Administration report prior to the cut-off date, July 25, 1951, a total of 11,234,984 veterans had applied for training. Of this total, 1,169,545 had applied for training under Public Law 16, Seventy-eighth Congress, the act of March 24, 1943, which provided for the vocational rehabilitation of the handicapped service-connected disabled. There were 10,065,439 applications for education and training under Public Law 346, Seventyeighth Congress, approved June 22, 1944 (the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944). Out of the 11,234,984 who had applied, 8,111,434 had had some training, 578,702 under Public Law 16, and 7,532,732 under Public Law 346. Approximately 74 percent of the total number of living World War II veterans applied for training; but only 53 percent have actually had some training. Eighty percent of those who applied have had some training.

As of June 30, 1951, only 878,502 had either exhausted their entitlement or had been declared rehabilitated; 606,219 had exhausted their entitlement under Public Law 346, which is about 8 percent of those who have entered training under that act. About 272,283 had been declared rehabilitated under Public Law 16, which is about 47 percent of those who have entered training under that law.

Based on the above figures, then, on July 1, 1951, 25 days prior to the cut-off date for initiating training, there were 7,502,185 veterans who, having had some training, had remaining entitlement; 3,123,550 who had applied but never used any of their entitlement, and 3,965,000 who had never applied for training, or an approximate total of 14,000,000 out of some 15,200,000 World War II veterans who had remaining entitlement. Mr. Chairman and gentleman, these figures certainly substantiate the statement that World War II veterans as a group have not abused their training privileges.

I will comment on each of the eight proposals in S. 1940 to which the American Legion voices objection.

No. 1 is the proposed restrictive entitlement computation. Give these veterans, these men and women, the break given those who served in World War II—the chance they need to fit themselves properly for employment. They will seek the benefit because this is what they want to do.

The maximum entitlement would be 48 months under this bill as it was for World War II veterans under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act. We do not ask that this be changed nor do we ask a duplication

« PreviousContinue »