DOD DENIES DISABLED VETERANS SPACE AVAILABLE TRAVEL
am an imperfect human
are you. That's the way it is. Some imperfections are obvious. Others
not. When we see the imperfections in others, it touches us deeply,
with compassion, sometimes with revulsion, sometimes with feelings of
helplessness, but always with emotion."
Disabled Veterans are
unjustly denied the Military Space Available Travel Privilege. Many
are stated for this denial, but the truth is based on emotion rather
than reason. This denial by the DOD is analogus to "a mother cat who
tries to hide or deny
her deformed babies". This exclusion is also a violation of DOD
32CFR56. It could also be argued that Disabled Veterans more than
else have earned this privilege.
A line by line examination
of this DOD
Policy Military Qualifier Statement speaks for itself. My comments
are included to show the distortions used in their policy statement.
The DOD Military
Qualifier line-by-line policy statement provided to disabled veterans
seeking info on their eligibility for Space A Travel are bolded in this
It should be noted that this
exclusionary policy is solely a DOD decision. Congress has already
given them the
authority to grant disabled veterans the Space Available Travel
. Department of Defense-Office of the Assistant Deputy Under
Secretary of Defense For Logistics.- Military Airlift Qualifier policy
statement titled "Space Available Travel for 100 percent Disabled
Line 1 " The Department of Defense (DoD) greatly values the
contributions of every veteran, especially those who have sacrificed
in the service of their country. "
Comment: They value our contribution by excluding us from a privilege
granted to over 7,000,000 others including the ROTC, public health ,
teachers, DOD employees, foreign military, the boy scouts, VIPs, etc
Line 2 " However, the primary purpose of the Department of
Defense (DoD) space- available travel program is to provide active duty
service members a respite from the rigors of military service"
Comment: The statement is only partially true. It is also a perk. Many
space available flight seats are used by others for vacations, and free
Line 3 " This travel privilege is becoming increasingly
critical to our active duty personnel, who are experiencing more
frequent family separations due to the DoD's high operational tempo"
Comment: Not quite true. Compared to other times and other situations,
the high operational tempo is no different or any more critical. No
doubt the active military and retirees deserve this privilege. This is
justification for excluding us.. The Defense Authorization Bills of
and 1999 provided funding for disabled veterans participation in the
Avaialble Travel, yet is was totally ignored by the DOD.
Line 4 " The privilege is extended to retired members at a
lower priority, in recognition of the fact that they may still be
to active duty, and as a reward for their many years of military
Comment: Does not sacrificing our health for our country qualify us for
this "reward", or are we to be discarded because we are of no further
use to the military?
Line 5 "The underlying criteria for extending the travel
privilege to other categories of passengers is their support to the
mission being performed by active duty military personnel, and to the
of active duty Service members' quality of life."
Comment: When enlisting, the military promises to provide "quality of
life" benefits to active duty personnel, and also to those who
honorably retire or are disabled from their military service. Disabled
have especially earned "quality of life" consideration by their
and emotional sacrifiice. When you exclude a disabled veteran from a
privilege granted to others , you are dishonoring us. You make us feel
"second class citizens". Its as if we have done something wrong for
disabled. DO YOU GET IT NOW?
Line 6 "In either case, veterans who are not on active duty
or retired are not authorized space-available travel"
Comment: This statement is misleading. If you are military retired and
have the space available privilege , are you not still a veteran? For
instance, retired military are veterans. Also retired National Guard
and Reserves are veterans. I do agree that Junior who attends college
in Europe and
uses space available to fly home each summer is not a veteran.
Line 10 "If the privilege were extended to the over 164,000
totally disabled veterans or other categories of personnel, the
numbers of people seeking space-available travel could overtax present
resources and diminish the limited benefit currently available to
Comment: This statement is a total distortion. Less than 10% of
the 100% disabled veterans are physically able to fly. Except during
summer peak periods, the space available flights are under utilized.
The DOD should be looking for other interested groups like disabled
veterans to justify the cost of the 11 Space Available Flight Centers,
the chartered Patriot Express Commercial Airlines and the 20,000
that directly or indirectly support the Space Available Flight program.
Line 11 " "Already those currently authorized space-
available travel are often disillusioned by the contrast between the
promise of space-available travel as a benefit of military service, and
the reality of the arduous conditions often encountered when they use
Comment: This statement does have some validity. but should not be used
a reason for denying us this privilege Most users are not disillusioned
and do not consider Space Available flights arduous. The Air Force
Times advertises the many advantages of flying the "Patriot Express" (
a space available major component) equating it to "First Class
Commercial Travel". In most instances, the Space Available Program is a
valued asset by those who use it. Even with its shortcomings, over 3
million military, retirees and dependents use it to do international
vacations and shopping. Military base lodgings in foreign countries are
used to minimize vacation expenses.It is a great opportunity to travel
the world for little or no money.
To conclude, the Space Available Travel Privilege is a valuable asset.
The exclusion of disabled veterans from this privilege is morally and
wrong. It also violates the DODs Regulations pertaining to
accessibility to the handicapped.. It indicates a lack of compassion by
some to those who have paid
greatest price while serving their country. This exclusion literally
on the irrational, not reason, nor logic, nor fairness, nor legally
It does not matter if only a few disabled veterans will ever use the
or that it complicates the life of the military. It is a major
violation of Federal Laws governing the Disabled.