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National Guard and Reserve Finally Get ‘Veteran’ Status

December 23, 2016

Soldiers and Airmen from the Arizona National Guard assemble together in a mass formation during the Arizona National Guard Muster Dec. 7 at Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.  More than 3800 Guard Members from throughout the state were present for the historic muster formation. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour)

Retired National Guardsmen and Reservists will be granted veteran status for the first time, following Presidential approval of a much-haggled bill. President Barack Obama signed the provision into law Friday, as part of a larger package on veterans’ benefits.

Until now, Guard and Reserve personnel were considered veterans only if they served in a federalized capacity for more than 179 days other than training. Even a reservist who attended regular training and drill for two decades, but never was federalized, could not claim to be a veteran. Now, Guard and Reserve members will be recognized as veterans if they serve honorably for 20 years.

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