Making sure reserve, guard vet rights don't "slip through the cracks"

Eye on Veterans
August 09, 2018 - 2:20 pm

Photo courtesy of Reserve Officers Association

If you have served in the reserves, National Guard or Air National Guard in recent years, there's a very good chance you've been activated. Despite that, there are benefits still not available to those who don't, or didn't, serve on full-time active duty. But there's an organization working to change that, and they've had quite a bit of success over the years, including getting survivor benefits for reservists killed in the line of duty raised to the same level as those on active duty in the 2018 NDAA. Before the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) got Congress to address the issue, reservists families would typically get about 1/4 of the amount the families of their active duty counterparts received. 

That's just one in a long list of accoplishments for the ROA, an organization founded by legendary WW1 General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing in 1922 with a mission to support and promote the development and execution of a military policy for the United States that will provide adequate National Security. Nearly a century later the leadership has obviously changed, but the mission remains and the group has also remained unique among Veteran Service Organizations.

"ROA is the only national organization in existence in the USA that exclusively, and solely, represents the interests of the reserve components of the United States," Retired Army Major General Jeff Phillips, the Executive Director of ROA, said during an appearance on the Morning Briefing radio show. "Other organizations its part of what they do, it's all we do. "

When it comes down to it, Phillips says the nature of legislation means that things will fall through the cracks, and too often when it comes to veteran or military-related legislation the reserve components are often not the primary focus. That's where ROA steps in, using their strong Capitol Hill presence to ensure no one who's worn the uniform, and made the same sacrifices, is denied earned benefits simply because they weren't full-time active duty.

"We're very proud of what we do and we're very proud of the reserve components," Phillips said. "A fabulous group of men and women, families and veterans who are serving, have served, and will continue to serve this great nation and with every day become more important to our national security.

You can listen to the full interview with Phillips and ROA Legislative Director John Rothrock below.

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