What is a Veteran? Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” This definition explains that any individual that completed a service for any branch of armed forces classifies as a veteran if they were not dishonorably discharged.
War Veteran -
Any active duty or reserve military member who has been in the area of conflict
in another country or surrounding waters in support of activity against a
Combat Veteran - Active duty or reserve military members who experience any level of combat for any duration resulting from offensive, defensive or friendly fire military action involving an enemy in any foreign theater.
Retired Veteran – Retired veterans serve a minimum of twenty years of active duty or reserve duty. Medically retired veterans receive injuries that prevent them from remaining active duty and are thereby retired regardless of years of service.
Disabled Veteran – Any former active duty or reserve military member who was injured through combat action or peacetime accident while serving on duty and is permanently injured.
The National Importance of Veterans
In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Every President has honored our military members in some fashion since George Washington who wisely stated:
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation." --George Washington
“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears
his country's cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in
the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”
-- Abraham Lincoln
“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.” –John F. Kennedy
“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don’t have that problem.” -- Ronald Reagan
According to the 2012 U.S. Census brief, veterans age 65 or older numbered in excess of 12.4 million. These veterans served in conflicts around the world including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and even in the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War Veterans
More than 650,000 Service members served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August 2, 1990 to July 31, 1991.
Many veterans face challenges throughout their lives that may lead them to lose their home, eventually becoming homeless.
Korean War Veterans
Approximately 5.7 million veterans served in the Korean War. Korean War Veterans are more prone to suffer from disabilities related to cold injures as a result of exposure to severe cold climates. Cold weather accounted for 16% of Army non-battle injuries and over 5,000 U.S. casualties of cold injury required evacuation from Korea during the winter of 1950-1951.
Minority Veterans Program
The term "Veterans who are minorities" means veterans who are identified as African Americans, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian.
Native American Veterans
According to the Department of Defense, American Indians and Alaska Natives have one of the highest representations in the armed forces.
American Former Prisoners of War
Former prisoners of war (POW) are Veterans who, during active military service, were forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by an enemy government, its agents or a hostile force.
Additionally, Veterans serving in the active military service during peacetime, who were forcibly detained or interned by a foreign government or its agents or a hostile force are also considered former POWs if the circumstances of the internment were comparable to wartime internment (for example: Iran, Somalia or Kosovo).
More than one-half million Americans have been captured and interned as POWs since the American Revolution. Not included in this figure are the nearly 93,000 Americans who were listed as lost and never recovered.
United States military involvement in the Vietnam War began in August 1964 and lasted until May 1975. Approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam. During the war, over 58,000 U.S. military members lost their lives and 153,000 were wounded.
Women served in the United States Military as early as the Revolutionary War. Since then, women of all ages, ranks, and levels of authority have entered every branch of service, made significant contributions, and suffered the same sacrifices as men.
World War II Veterans
World War II (WWII) was the most widespread war in history with more than 100 million people serving in military units. About 16 million Americans served during WWII.
WWII Veterans who were a part of the Occupation Forces assigned to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan soon after the detonation of Atomic-Bombs over those respective cities, and those American prisoners of war ( POW's ) who were housed in close proximity to those cities are sometimes called "Atomic Veterans."
Veterans can sometimes run into issues with law enforcement and the criminal justice system resulting in incarceration. Veterans in prison and parolees may be eligible for certain VA benefits and access to local and state resources. The VA can pay certain benefits to veterans who are incarcerated in a federal, state, or local penal institution. However, the amount paid depends on the type of benefit and reason for incarceration.
© 2019. Armed Forces Veterans
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