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The CHAIRMAN. Yes, it seems to be very comprehensive and well prepared.
Mr. NIEMAN. Exhibit A in the back of the pamphlet I have here
Mr. NIEMAN. Exhibit A is the picture of the disability of Regular Frank Sobolowski, who put in approximately 22 years in the service, much of which was with the justly famous Army Band. He contracted cancer of the intestines and part of his spine and lower intestines were removed, including his colon. His pension is $45 a month and from that he must buy food, clothing, medical necessities, quarters, heat, maintain a family, and so forth. Regular Sobolowski is here with us today. Now, I would like to ask permission of the committee to introduce him, and any questions the committee wishes him to answer, I am sure Regular Sobolowski would be glad to answer.
The CHAIRMAN. Stand up, Mr. Sobolowski, so the committee may see you.
STATEMENT OF REGULAR FRANK SOBOLOWSKI
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions?
Senator LOGAN. Under this bill, what would he receive, Mr. Nieman?
Mr. NIEMAN. $80.
Mr. NIEMAN. Exhibit B is that of another disabled Regular. He must stay in that position 24 hours a day.
Senator LOGAN. What does he get?
Mr. NIEMAN. He gets $45. However, as he is maintained in a Veterans' Administration facility, he receives a pension of $15 in there, which is perfectly right. On the outside with $80 he could maintain himself quite fair and have his aid and attendants and be out of the environment of the hospital.
Exbibit C is a picture of the home of a disabled Regular.
Senator LOGAN. Yes; I see that. These disabilities for which pensions are granted by this bill are for service-connected disability?
Mr. NIEMAN. Absolutely. We ask only for service-connected disabilities.
The CHAIRMAN. This exhibit C shows a mere shack.
Mr. NIEMAN. Yes; a mere shack, and I would like to read a letter from Regular James A. Conway of Paradise, Pa.:
DEAR REGULAR NIEMAN: Here is a picture of my little home. Everyone here knows how I am forced to live, and I glory in the fact that I have never been on relief, although it is less than an existence--this life of mine. I get plenty hungry,
but have plenty of heat. Talk about balancing the budget-they have nothing on me, and I can give some of our budget balancers some practical pointersnothing "theoretical” about my budget balancing-trying to exist on $13 a month. I actually earned $1.80 since November, 1937— some salary.
God bless you and our other officers for the wonderful fight you are putting up for the forgotten men, women and children of our Nation, and Regular Nieman, you will note from the flag over my humble door that I am ready to go again for my county, no matter what happens to me after.
Senator Logan. What would be the total cost to the Government if this bill should be passed?
Mr. NIEMAN. I have a statement on page 6 of that statement, sir. Our estimate, and as I said in here, there may be a few items I have missed. However, they will not change the bill, which is $3,484,172, allowing $50,000, under section 4 and $50,000 for restoration of statutory rights to those who have been eliminated from the rolls and entitled to such benefit.
Senator LOGAN. This does propose to restore those that were cut off by the Economy Act, or at least some of them?
Mr. NIEMAN. This will restore tuberculosis, heart trouble, and disabilities of that order. That is our intention in the bill.
Senator Logan. Yes, I understand. Where did you obtain those figures you have on page 6? From the Veterans' Administration?
Mr. NIEMAN. We do not hold that we are financial experts, however, we have made some simple calculations obtained from the Annual Report of the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs for 1937.
Senator LOGAN. So this is approximately what the increase in cost would be, nearly three and one-half million dollars annually.
Mr. NIEMAN. Yes. I might state at this time that amputations of today, that is anyone incurring a disability requiring an amputation today under this bill would receive approximately a 43-percent increase. Totally disabled and lesser degrees of general nature, would receive an increase of approximately 78 percent. Dependents will receive an increase of approximately 19 percent.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean under this bill, S. 3503?
The CHAIRMAN. What increases do they get now for these various degrees of disability, or do they only receive a uniform amount?
Mr. NIEMAN. No, sir; it depends upon the percentage of disability only.
The CHAIRMAN. And your bill is to increase that up to what percent, roughly speaking?
Mr. NIEMAN. The cost of the compensation total would be approximately a 47-percent increase in compensation for disabled Regulars and/or their dependents.
The CHAIRMAN. For the various degrees of disability?
Senator LOGAN. That seems to cover all so far as know, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you wish to call on anyone else, Mr. Nieman? Mr. NIEMAN. We have a representative of the Regular Veterans Women's Association with us, and I am sure Mrs. Williams, the national president of that organization, would like to say a word.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Williams, would you like to make a statement? If so, you may be seated and give your initials and address to the reporter.
STATEMENT OF MARY A. WILLIAMS, NATIONAL PRESIDENT
AND LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REGULAR VETERANS WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION
Mrs. Williams. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is Mrs. Mary A. Williams, national president and legislative representative of the Regular Veterans Women's Association, a national organization chartered under the laws of Congress in the District of Columbia, and composed of the wives, mothers, widows, adult daughters, granddaughters, and sisters of any person who has served or is now serving in the Regular Armed Forces of the United States.
We have members whose respected ancestors served with Gen. George Washington and whose sons are now serving with the expeditionary forces in China.
It has been our privilege to work side by side with our men, the Regular Veterans Association, to share their joys and suffer their reverses, to cradle their members in infancy and to be denied the American flag from their caskets at death, to bow our heads in remorse that we are of the forgotten people of the greatest Nation on earth, subjected to discrimination because we bore or married a Regular whose only sin is that he served his country and take that service as it comes, seeing the children of Regulars treated as inferior American children and denied many, many things that any American child should have.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, Regular Nieman has presented a joint plea to your honorable body of the Regular Veterans Association and that of the Regular Veterans Womens Association. I cannot add to his presentation, but I can freely and do add the prayers of the entire membership of the Regular Veterans Womens Association that S. 3503 become a law in the name of humanity, of justice, of fairness, and gratitude of the Nation to those who also served and are being denied or have failed to have such recognition in compensation for the loss of health, life, and limb.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mrs. Williams.
Has this matter been presented to Congress or a committee of the Congress before in any detail?
Mr. NIEMAN. Senator, I think this is the initial appearance of anyone for the disabled Regular before any body of Congress.
Senator Logan. There has been some discussion of it I know for the last 2 years.
Mr. NIEMAN. There has been considerable discussion, but no concrete action.
Senator Logan. Manifestly, there has been a great injustice against the Regulars. Can you give a reason why the matter has never been presented before to any body of Congress?
Mr. NJEMAN. The Regulars have never been organized. There are so few of them and the needs of our war-time men have been so great that the cry of our disabled Regular has been unheard.
Senator LOGAN. Very well.
Mrs. WILLIAMS. No; I do not think so.
Mr. NIEMAN. At this time, Mr. Chairman, I would like to present a telegram from “Our Army” 160 Jay Street, Brooklyn, N. Y., and “Navy News" California Theater Building, San Diego, Calif., reading as follows:
APRIL 6, 1938. J. E. NIEMAN,
Regular Veterans Association, Washington, D. C.: Through long experience with the Army and Navy I have seen the hardships worked on regular Army and Navy enlisted men through the very inadequate pensions allowed those who become physically incapacitated in the line of duty. Under present laws the Regular has little protection against physical disability. His risks are great and at any time before 30-year retirement he can be discharged from the Army for physical disability with loss of retirement pay and without adequate pension. This hazard is a constant source of worry to all Regular service enlisted men. Today life in the Army and Navy is very strenuous.
Both highly mechanized services are on almost constant maneuvers under closely simulated wartime conditions. The risk is great. The need for a better pension law is vital. The Congress has provided ships and guns. Surely it can also provide a small additional sum to guarantee the men behind the guns adequate protection against physical disabilities received in handling these weapons of warfare. I believe the regular veteran deserves pension rights equal to the wartime veteran. I favor S. 3503. I speak as a World War veteran and as a commissioned officer of the Regular service from 1918 to 1928. And I speak as editor and publisher of leading military and naval magazines from 1928 to the present time-specifically, as editor of Our Army Magazine and for Navy News leading naval publication. Please convey 'my message to the Senate Military Affairs Committee at whose hearings on š. 3503 I had hoped to be present but was prevented by last minute business demands.
CARL GARDNER. The CHAIRMAN. Senator Nye, do you or Senator Miller have anything you would like to ask of Mr. Nieman?
Senator NYE. What does the bill do for the widows of these men who served in the Regular Establishment? Mr. Nieman. It increases their pension approximately 19 percent. Senator NYE. What do they receive now? Mr. NIEMAN. The widow now receives $22 a month. This would
. increase them a little over 19 percent of that and the same for all dependents, that is mothers and fathers and dependent children.
Senator Logan. Let me see if I understand. It increases the pension of the men for service disabilities 47 percent?
The CHAIRMAN. That is the general average.
Mr. NIEMAN. Yes. Breaking that up somewhat, an amputation today will receive an approximate increase of 43 percent. Total disability and lesser degrees of general nature, would receive an increase of approximately 78 percent, bringing them only within approximately 80 percent of the pension now paid war veterans.
Senator LOGAN. In other words, it brings none of them nearer to the pension paid the war veteran than 80 percent?
Mr. Nieman. That is right, approximately, 80 percent.
The Chairman. Is there anyone else to testify? Have you anyone else, Mr. Nieman?
Mr. NIEMAN. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, Mr. Nieman, we will give the bill careful consideration, and we thank you and those here with you for the information you have given the committee.
(Whereupon, at 10:45 a. m., the committee proceeded to consideration of other business, following which the committee adjourned, subject to call.)