Finally: Actual, Physical Vet Cards Will Be Issued To Veterans Who Apply Starting In November

Veterans Benefits
Screen grab via YouTube

Okay, so say it’s Veterans Day and you’re a veteran and you’ve been waiting in line all morning to get your free meal at Applebee’s. But then you suddenly realize that you forgot to bring a copy of your DD-214, and you don’t have a Department of Veterans Affairs health card ID because you’re one of the many millions of veterans who hasn’t enrolled in the VA health care system.


Well, guess what? You may have stormed the beaches of Normandy, but unless you have hard proof of your military service, you’re paying $13.29 for that bowl of spicy Firecracker Shrimp Cavatappi.

It’s exactly situations like this that prompted Congress to pass the Veterans Identification Card Act in 2015. The law, which was originally sponsored by Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies for one. Currently, only veterans enrolled in the VA health-care system or who receive retirement pay have photo ID cards.

Veteran Health Identification CardVA graphic

“Goods, services and promotional activities are often offered by public and private institutions to veterans who demonstrate proof of service in the military, but it is impractical for a veteran to always carry Department of Defense form DD-214 discharge papers to demonstrate such proof,” the law states.

Now, after two long years, vet cards — actual, physical vet cards that provide undeniable proof that you are, in fact, a god among men — will be available nationwide starting in November.

The cards will be available free of charge to any honorably discharged veteran who applies for one online via the VA website; however, a VA official told Military.com that the department has yet to finalize a “timeline for how long it will take to receive a card” once the application is sent in. Given the VA’s reputation for being a well-oiled paperwork processing super machine, I think it’s safe to assume that the turnaround time will be lightning fast.

There are currently about 22 million living U.S. military veterans. Some of them live in states that allow people to identify themselves as veterans on their driver’s licenses, in which case, of course, they wouldn’t need one of these cool new vet cards.

We do not know what the cards will look like, except that they will include a photograph of the veteran, his or her name, and a non-Social Security identification number. We can only hope that the cards also include an image of a professional athlete STANDING for the American flag. And maybe like a bald eagle soaring around in the background somewhere.      

Also, will the new cards include the veteran’s date of birth? And if so could a veteran be able to use the card to prove they are old enough to purchase, say, a 30-rack of Keystone Light? In an emailed response to these hard-hitting questions, the VA's office of public affairs told Task & Purpose: "No and no."   

Update 10.6.2017 2:40pm EST: This article has been changed to include the VA's response ("No and no") to our questions about whether or not the new veteran ID card can be used to buy alcohol. 

Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less

Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less