Giving veterans a chance

by Zachary Bair, University student

After I graduated from high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. I was fortunate enough to deploy three times with the courageous men of the 75th Ranger Regiment. I completed Army Ranger School (one of the most rigorous military schools), and I have experienced my fair share of combat. I was honorably discharged at the end of my enlistment and was accepted to the University of Minnesota shortly thereafter.

In the March 10 letter to the editor, “The realities of the U.S. military in the world,” Alex Lecy described several ways in which the might of the U.S. military protects peace and argued that there should be no decrease in the military budget because it protects peace. I’m writing to explain that there is another reason the military budget should not be cut.

One of the reasons I enlisted was that my family and I simply could not afford higher education. I knew with certain veteran’s benefits, I could potentially go to school for free. Under the post-9/11 GI Bill, one may receive up to the highest in-state public tuition in one’s state of residence, a stipend for books and an allowance for housing and living costs.

With these education benefits, my tuition is completely covered, I receive up to $1,000 each year for books, and I receive more than enough a month for rent, food and other essentials. Without the GI Bill, I would most likely be working a low-end job or even homeless.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, more than 1 million veterans have used the post-9/11 GI Bill since 2009.

If there is any reason to not cut military spending besides keeping the peace, it would be so that returning veterans have a legitimate chance to succeed in the civilian world.