Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth of July, Soldiers (And Everybody Else)!

I originally posted this over at Daily Kos today.

According to yesterday's New York Post, a New York National Guardsman -- who has served in Iraq for 6 years -- will not be college paid for, something he was promised when he signed up, all due to a snafu in New York state law.

According to the story, "Thomas Kelly joined the New York Guard for a six-year stint while still at Yorktown HS in Westchester based on a recruiter's promise that, in exchange, he would get a state college education tuition-free, said his mother, Denise Kelly.

Now, three semesters shy of a diploma and doing armored patrol with the 101st Cavalry in Baghdad, Kelly has been told that because his six years are up in November, when he is scheduled to return home, his college funding will also expire then.

Under state law, Kelly's free tuition ends when his service does. The Armed Forces has not offered him an extension -- despite the fact he had to miss an extraordinary amount of school to serve his country during a time of war.

He's "s--- out of luck," as one recruiter put it."

His plan was to graduate this fall, but his studies were twice interrupted by calls to duty-- once by 9/11 and then by deployment to Iraq in May 2004.

On the plus side, a spokesman for the state's Division of Military and Naval Affairs said he can rejoin the National Guard (ie. re-enlist for another tour of duty in Iraw) to stay in the tuition program.

How wonderfuly we treat our soldiers, eh?

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