Rep. Janice Hahn remembers the story from her childhood. Her father, a Navy captain during World War II, received benefits under the GI Bill. Her uncle, Gordon Hahn, a lieutenant in the Merchant Marines, did not. "Maybe that had something to do with just an early sense of that doesn't seem fair. There's a bit of an injustice here," Hahn said.
The decades-long effort to recognize and honor the U.S. Merchant Marines of WWII took another step forward Wednesday when the House passed a bipartisan measure to award the seamen a Congressional Gold Medal. The medal, along with the Presidential Medal of Honor, is the highest civilian award in the country. More than 200,000 Merchant Mariners played essential and perilous roles in winning the war -- ferrying American troops and supplies into Atlantic and Pacific theater battle zones. Some of the roughly 5,000 remaining mariners -- now in their 80s and 90s -- expressed gratitude this week over the House effort. And they voiced guarded optimism about a similar Senate measure and about perhaps getting compensation like the soldiers and sailors with whom they served.
It is without question that those who serve or who have served our nation are owed the greatest respect and care for their selflessness. Building a strong support system for our service members and veterans means that we must also reinforce their foundations, and most importantly, their family units. Unfortunately, the specific needs of military families are often overlooked, which can be detrimental to their prosperity and success. When my husband enlisted in the Marine Corps, I thought I was well prepared for obstacles we would face such as deployments and moves, but what I didn't understand was how deeply this lifestyle would impact my view of who I was. That is not to say that I wasn't immensely proud of my husband.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Jan. 24 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com None of my duties and experiences as second lady of the United States has been as fulfilling as the opportunity to work with those who have served and sacrificed for this country: America's military service members, spouses, veterans, and their families. As a proud Blue Star mom of a U.S. Marine, I have a deeper understanding of the daily sacrifices. Without a doubt, our Armed Forces deserve our respect and care.
The U.S. Army is boosting efforts to help soldiers succeed in civilian life by giving them more tools and qualifications to find work after military service. Acting Army Secretary Robert Speer plans to give a directive in the near future that will broaden a transition program to include credentialing soldiers in areas ranging from truck driving and mechanics to information technology, according to Military.com. In some cases the Army gives soldiers the skills they need, such as how to drive a truck, but then does not give them the formal credentials, such as a commercial driver's license, that allow them to apply successfully for similar work in the civilian world. Gen. Hugh Van Roosen said Thursday the Army could do more to help soldiers be employable, reported Military.com. However, we have to balance that against whatever we can do to ensure a soldier who's leaving has as soft a landing as possible.