SAN DIEGO - A Minnesota congressman is proposing for a third time that National Guard and Reserve who are not mobilized for federal active duty be allowed to call themselves veterans.
Technically, those who serve a weekend a month and two weeks every year cannot call themselves veterans. No benefits or pay is associated with this bill, just status.
"These men and women who could spend weekends with their families are instead preparing to defend our country," said Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, who is proposing the legislation.
"I think it's great," said Maj. Kim Holman, who is with the Air National Guard. "They serve in the Guard and for whatever reason haven't been federally mobilized. They should still be considered veterans."
Staff Sgt. Everett McKnight, a full-time National Guardsman since 1996, could not agree more.
"I've worked and served alongside them, and I've seen the contributions they've made," he said.
The bill will be introduced in committee Thursday. Among its supporters is Iraq War veteran and San Diego Rep. Duncan Hunter.