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of the VA, and that it is questionable whether it was ever made clear to him that the attainment of a degree, and not employment, was the governing criterion under which he was to maintain his workload.
In addition, I think that the conference he had with Dean Click, the dean of his own college, at which he was advised to drop the courses, the excess workload, should play a very large part in the committee's decision. Dean Click told Mr. Ebner, and told me on the telephone, that he had advised Ebner that he understood perfectly what the Public Law 16 requirements were, and that they were not inconsistent with the university's minimum requirements, and therefore he should, if he felt it was too much of a burden, drop the courses.
Dalworth Ebner can be rehabilitated in the real sense of that word. He has borne extremely heavy burdens for the past few years, some of them stemming from his military service. He has been quite ill, both physically and psychologically. He has supported seven persons, including himself, and now supports six. He is worth rehabilitating. There is no doubt that the Veteran's Administration feels that it has walked a mile with Ebner. There is a long history of disputes between them. As a matter of legislative grace, and in order to permit this veteran to make a worthwhile contribution to society, which I am convinced he can and will do if he is given the opportunity, we urge the committee to walk the second mile.
Senator YARBOROUGH. Does that complete your statement?
Mr. McPherson, has this been before the subcommittee at a former session?
Mr. MCPHERSON. It has. It was before the subcommittee in the 85th Congress, and it was unanimously approved by the subcommittee, then under the chairmanship of Senator Thurmond.
Senator YARBOROUGH. When Senator Thurmond was chairman of the subcommittee, it unanimously approved it?
Mr. MCPHERSON. Yes. It was in the last days of the 85th Congress, as I recall it.
Senator YARBOROUGH. But it was unanimously approved while Senator Thurmond was chairman?
Mr. MCPHERSON. Yes, sir.
Senator YARBOROUGH. Do you feel that your testimony has covered this so that all of the essential facts are in the record?
Mr. MCPHERSON. I believe so; yes.
Senator YARBOROUGH. The same facts that the subcommittee had before it when Senator Thurmond was chairman and heard it at that time?
Mr. MCPHERSON. Yes, sir.
Senator YARBOROUGH. I have no further questions.
Thanks for your very concise statement. This is a complicated matter, and I think you have boiled it down to a very few minutes in a very concise way.
I have had considerable correspondence about it and have supported this legislation at other sessions than this one, having heard from the people in Austin, Tex., who are interested in this veteran and who have sent me a considerable volume of mail about it.
Mr. MCPHERSON. Thank you, sir.
Senator YARBOROUGH. The third measure set for hearing this morning is S. 2235, by Senator Humphrey. That is the bill to provide benefits established by the Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952 to persons who graduated from the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps training in 1954, and served on active duty for training in the Air National Guard before February 1, 1955.
We have a note here from Senator Humphrey that he deeply regrets his inability to be present, but he has a statement explaining the legislation and the necessity for it, being data about the number of effective graduates, together with a statement reproduced from the Air Force magazine of July 1954, and communications from two individuals affected by the bill, explaining the situation they were in under the peculiar results of the law.
This statement from Senator Humphrey will be received and filed, together with the several appendixes and annexes, including the Air Force magazine article of July 1954; the letter to Senator Humphrey of June 17, 1959, from Patrick O'Flaherty of St. Paul, Minn.; the letter to Senator Humphrey of January 21, 1959, from Robert W. Bieler, sent from RAF Station Wetherfield, Essex, United Kingdom. (The documents referred to follow :)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR HUBERT H. HUMPHREY
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to request that this subcommittee give sympathetic attention to my proposal, S. 2235, to correct a long-standing injustice to a group of Air Force Reserve officers.
About 1,500 graduates of the Air Force ROTC class of 1954 are denied Korean war GI bill benefits simply because of a technicality in the law.
In 1954 the Air Force decided that manpower ceilings prevented commissioning of the 4,800 Air Force ROTC graduates as second lieutenants. The Air Force then gave these young men the choice of a Reserve commission with appointment to the Air National Guard of the District of Columbia or enlistment in the Air Force as airmen third class or eventual action by selective service.
About 3,500 ROTC graduates chose to accept Reserve commissions in the Air National Guard with the understanding that they would serve 3 years on active duty and 3 years with an Air Guard unit. Thus, each of these young men had an obligation to serve his country for 6 years.
On January 1, 1955, the President issued an Executive order setting January 31, 1955, as the final date on which servicemen would be eligible for education and training benefits under the Korean war GI bill, the Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952.
However, the 1,500 young ROTC graduates called to duty with the Air National Guard before February 1, 1955, were technically ordered to active duty for training.
Because of this technicality-their orders reading "active duty for training"" rather than simply "active duty"-these young men are denied the education benefits of the Korean war GI bill, even though they served in active duty Air Force units, doing exactly the same work as regular Air Force officers. As Mr. Patrick F. Flaherty points out in a letter I am submitting for the record: "Even though we had the 'for training' part on our orders, for all intents and purposes we performed the same duties as our fellow officers-all of whom are entitled to GI benefits."
The other 2,000 ROTC graduates who accepted Air National Guard commissions were called to duty after the Korean war GI bill eligibility cutoff, so their eligibility is not an issue at this point.
But I think it is obviously unfair that young men who entered the armed services in time to establish eligibility for benefits-before the cutoff date, January 31, 1955-and performed active duty which earned GI bill benefits for other Air Force officers, should lose benefits simply because of a technicality in the law. Equality of treatment under law is basic justice. If other young men on active service in the Air Force before the cutoff date were entitled to GI bill
benefits, why not these 1,500 Reserve officers, who also served their country ably and loyally?
The Veterans' Administration declared that the need for readjustment benefits does not exist in any large number of cases at the present time.
I do not see any reason for the Government of the United States to allow injustice to stand simply because the injustice affects very few people. Justice is justice whether it applies to 15 people or to 15,000 or to 15 million.
And I might add that the Veterans' Administration predicts that my proposal would cost only $180,000 in a peak year, and only $500,000 for all benefits to be made available under this bill.
Congress has a clear obligation to correct an unfair situation. Action is long overdue, and certainly at this late date the cost of overdue justice is negligible. Mr. Chairman, I would appreciate it very much if you will include in the record a news item copied for me by the Air Force Association from the Air Force magazine of July 1954 and copies of two letters I have received from members of the Air Force ROTC class of 1954 which help to explain the inequity in the present law.
I respectfully urge this subcommittee to take favorable action on this measure. Thank you.
[From Air Force magazine, July 1954]
For months what to do with some 4,800 Air ROTC graduates of this year had bedeviled the Air Force, Congress, and the students themselves. The Air Force manpower ceilings precluded their being called to active duty as second lieutenants. Further, Air Force felt it would be unwise in any event to take them on in nonrated positions at a time when it is stressing pilot training to the ROTC. A decision was reached that would require the 4,800 to serve on active duty as airmen for 2 years. This was the situation a month ago.
Now everything has changed 180 degrees. The Air National Guard surveyed its future requirements for nonrated officers and learned that at a future date it could use approximately 4,800-or the same number as there were ROTC graduates available.
The Air Force Division of the Guard Bureau sent this word to USAF through John I. Lerom, Special Assistant for Reserve and ROTC Affairs. It was a tailormade solution to a knotty problem.
ANG commissions were offered to all ROTC graduates who would accept them. To date, some 3,500 have. All will be commissioned in the District of Columbia Air National Guard, purely to simplify administrative procedures.
These graduates will be ordered to active duty for training for 3 years. They will be sent to such schools as engineering, supply, administration, finance, and maintenance. Upon completing their schooling and qualifying for an AFSC, the ROTC grads will be assigned to Air Force organizations for on-the-job training. After 3 years-or unless sooner relieved from active duty-these lieutenants will be required to serve 3 years with an Air Guard unit. If the total active duty time is under 3 years, the time to be spent in the guard would be lengthened correspondingly. In all, it will work out that the ROTC graduates will have a 6year obligation: 3 on active duty and 3 in the guard.
Those who did not elect to take the guard commissions will be required to serve the 2 years on active duty with the Air Force as airmen, third class.
Re 1954 AFROTC eligibility for GI benefits.
Hon. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY,
ST. PAUL, MINN., June 17, 1959.
DEAR SENATOR HUMPHREY: The following is a summary of the above matter as it affects myself and other members of the class of 1954:
When I entered AFROTC at St. Thomas College in 1950 I was told that if I successfully completed the 4-year AFROTC course I would be commissioned a second lieutenant and would serve on active duty for 2 years, no strings attached. I was under this assumption until the fall of 1953, the start of my senior year, when I was informed that because of lack of funds, I would not be commissioned unless I could qualify for flight training and that if I did not so qualify I would be given a "certificate of completion." These certificates entitled
the holders to enlist in the Air Force as an airman, third class, one rank above recruit, for a period of 2 years.
At this time some of the fellows dropped out of the AFROTC program while others like myself stayed on with the belief that somehow our situation would be rectified.
A few weeks before graduation I was informed that they had found some funds after all, in the National Guard of the District of Columbia. At this time I was given a choice: Go in the Air Force as a second lieutenant on extended active duty for training (the "for training" part being the clause that made veterans' benefits not applicable to our "lot") or take the certificates of completion and go in the Air Force as an airman, third class, but in such a status as would entitle the person so doing to veterans' benefits.
So here was the crossroads, go in as an airman, third class, in which case none of my training in AFROTC as a leader was to be utilized, or go in the Air Force as a second lieutenant, not with all the benefits, but with a chance at least to show leadership. A small minority went in the Air Force as airmen, third class, who, because of Air Force administrative policy, were subsequently commissioned as second lieutenants, and because of their initial status now enjoy all veterans' benefits.
I, along with approximately 1,500 men in the same status, entered the Air Force prior to January 31, 1955, the cutoff period for the GI bill. Even though we had the "for training" part on our orders, for all intents and purposes we performed the same duties as our fellow officers-all of whom were entitled to GI benefits.
I was separated from the Air Force on September 19, 1956, and proceeded to complete my education. I have now completed 3 years of law school and will finish next year. I have been lucky enough to borrow money from various sources but this, of course, will have to be paid back. I now owe approximately $4,250. I am married and have three children. I'm not trying to cry, "wolf," because I feel I have been fortunate in being able to borrow the necessary funds to finish my education. However, I'm certain you must appreciate how one feels when he believes he is entitled to something and he is not receiving it.
Senator Humphrey, I have a complete file of all of our correspondence in this matter which dates back to March of 1956, and which is approximately 1 inch thick. If for any reason you would like same, please advise and I will forward Much of what I have said in this letter is in said file.
Hon. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY,
PATRICK F. FLAHERTY.
WETHERFIELD, ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM,
MY DEAR SENATOR HUMPHREY: Thank you for your kind consideration of my inquiry concerning "GI bill" benefits for the Air ROTC classes of 1954. I sincerely appreciate your efforts on behalf of my group.
In support of this proposal (S. 3005) I wish to respectfully submit that those members of our class who chose to be officers and leaders paid a heavy price in relation to their indifferent contemporaries. Many of us desire further education and personally I feel so strongly that I have submitted my resignation to return to graduate study without any assurance of assistance.
Perhaps your associates in defeating this bill overlooked its full importance and reconsideration will be in good order. It will largely determine the qualifications of our leaders of tomorrow, and clearly indicates to all who are conscious whether our Government intends to reward the ambitious and aggressive, or the indifferent and lazy.
No doubt after many years the justice of this cause is certain to be recognized, but for those of us who wish further education the effect of indiscriminate procrastination is disturbing. The Finance Committee may well remember that we were originally forced to accept National Guard commissions as a compromise to suit the financial convenience of the Government. It is becoming a debt dishonored.
Should you desire to use my opinions in support of this provision I have no objection. In this connection it may also be well to establish that great concern
has been felt for this point by many members of the group who no doubt feel as I do that the obvious merit of rewarding leadership and for providing for the education of our leaders should not require solicitation of support of efforts clearly in the best interest of our growing Nation which shall in years to come find capable and qualified leadership a rare talent.
Again, I wish to express my gratitude for your efforts and to offer my best wishes for all your good endeavors in the coming years.
ROBERT W. BIEHLER.
Senator YARBOROUGH. Is there any other testimony in support of this bill?
Colonel Berg is here from the Policy Division of the Personnel Planning Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff Personnel, of the U.S. Air Force.
Colonel Berg, you are here on this one measure; is that right?
Senator YARBOROUGH. Since you are on one bill alone, we will hear your testimony before we hear the testimony of the organizations and the Government departments that are going to present testimony on all three bills.
STATEMENT OF COL. W. W. BERG, POLICY DIVISION, DIRECTORATE OF PERSONNEL PLANNING, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF PERSONNEL, U.S. AIR FORCE; ACCOMPANIED BY JAMES B. MINOR, JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL'S OFFICE, U.S. AIR FORCE; AND LEROY J. SPENCE, POLICY DIVISION, DIRECTORATE OF PERSONNEL PLANNING, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF PERSONNEL, U.S. AIR FORCE
Colonel BERG. All right, sir.
Mr. Chairman and Senator Goldwater, I am Colonel Berg from Air Force Personnel, and I appreciate the opportunity of appearing before you this morning in connection with S. 2235.
I am accompanied by two professional members of the Air Force: Mr. Minor, of the Air Force Judge Advocate Section, on my left, and Mr. LeRoy Spence, of the Policy Division of the Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel, on my right.
S. 2235 would extend to certain 1954 ROTC graduates, who were appointed in the District of Columbia Air National Guard and subsequently ordered to duty for training under section 99 of the National Defense Act, the same benefits under the Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952-the so-called Korean GI bill of rightsas were provided for personnel who were on extended active duty in the Armed Forces.
That act provides certain benefits for persons who served in the active Federal service between June 27, 1950, and February 1, 1955. Among those benefits are educational and vocational assistance, mustering-out pay, and guaranteed home loans.
Before stating the Air Force position with respect to this bill, I would like to present some of the background of the matter. Because of limitations on the number of officers who could be accommodated in the Active Force in 1954, the Air Force was forced to discontinue its former practice of calling to extended active duty all graduates of the ROTC program. As a result, only a limited number of the 1954