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Trump signs exec order to streamline student loan debt forgiveness for disabled vets
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.
"I am proud to announce that I am taking executive action to ensure that our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt," Trump said at the American Veterans National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday, where he signed the Presidential Memorandum on Discharging the Federal Student Loan Debt of Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans.
"Altogether, this action will wipe out an average of $30,000 in debt owed by more than 25,000 eligible veterans who have made immense sacrifices — the ultimate sacrifice, in many — in many ways, for our nation," Trump continued.
"They have made a sacrifice that's so great. And they're such incredible people. And they never complain. They never complain. That's hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt held by our severely wounded warriors. It's gone forever."
Though student loan forgiveness for certain veterans isn't new, fewer than half of the 50,000 eligible veterans — meaning those with 100% combat or service-connected disabilities — have actually received the student loan discharge they're entitled to, due in large part to an overly complicated application process.
"For the last decade, veterans seeking loan discharges have been required to submit an application to the Secretary of Education with proof of their disabilities obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs," reads the Presidential Memorandum.
"The process has been overly complicated and difficult, and prevented too many of our veterans from receiving the relief for which they are eligible. This has inflicted significant hardship and serious harm on these veterans and has frustrated the intent of the Congress that their Federal student loan debt be discharged."
The executive order is designed to fix that by streamlining the process, and shifting the responsibility from eligible veterans, to the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Education.
The executive order directs the Department of Education and the VA to implement the changes as "expeditiously as possible."
Additionally, Trump announced that "there will be no federal income tax on the forgiven debts," and encouraged "all 50 states to immediately waive all applicable state taxes as well."
"We're excited about this," Joe Chenelly, the national executive director for AMVETS told Task & Purpose. "We're always trying to help out veterans in holistic ways. We look at all the factors that play into a veteran living well, not just living 'un-sick.' Debt and education are two big factors in the veteran living well. In the talk about combating veteran suicide and being a productive member of society, student debt can certainly play a momentous role."
"This executive action is a critical step in the right direction to ensure that veterans who have sacrificed so much in service to this country have the tools to transition back to civilian life with meaningful education and career opportunities — without carrying a crushing, insurmountable financial burden," Jeremy Butler , the CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said in a statement provided to Task & Purpose.
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said on Friday a Navy SEAL convicted of battlefield misconduct should face a board of peers weighing whether to oust him from the elite force, despite President Donald Trump's assertion that he not be expelled.
"I believe the process matters for good order and discipline," Spencer told Reuters, weighing in on a confrontation between Trump and senior Navy officials over the outcome of a high-profile war-crimes case.
A military jury in July convicted Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of illegally posing for pictures with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter but acquitted him of murder in the detainee's death. Gallagher also was cleared of charges that he deliberately fired on unarmed civilians.
The Air Force has identified the two airmen killed in a training accident on Thursday as Lt. Col John "Matt" Kincade, 47, and 2nd Lt. Travis B. Wilkie, 23.
Kincade and Wilkie were killed at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma during a training mission involving T-38C Talon aircraft, the Air Force said. Two T-38s were training in formation when the incident occurred during the landing phase, according to a press release.
A Marine lance corporal has become the first female Marine in history to graduate the Basic Reconnaissance Course, earning the military occupational specialty of 0321 Reconnaissance Marine.
Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth completed the 12-week course on Nov. 7, said Maj. Kendra Motz, a Marine spokeswoman. Barth previously graduated from the Corps' Infantry Training Battalion-East, earning the MOS of 0311 Rifleman.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- By day, Arik Rangel works as a U.S. Coast Guard operations specialist third class, but when the spotlight hits, his stage name and personalty -- Arik Cavalli -- takes over.
Rangel, born in San Marcos, Tx., was raised by a single mother with three sisters. He didn't want his mother to have to support him after high school, so he honored her and his country by joining the U.S. Air Force in 2012.
He worked as a senior airman in the Knowledge Operations Management field and was in the Air Force reserves for three years. In 2015, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard as an operations specialist and is currently stationed at Fort Wadsworth.
A new documentary tells the heroic story of the first Marine to earn the Medal of Honor since Vietnam
More than 15 years ago, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham gave his life to save his fellow Marines on the streets of Husaybah, Iraq when he leaped upon a grenade. In 2007, he became the first Marine since the Vietnam War to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
In the years since his death, his story of courage and sacrifice has been told and re-told. His Medal of Honor citation is read to Marine recruits during the Crucible at boot camp. And his name adorns the USS Jason Dunham, where his dress blue uniform rests in a clear display case on the quarterdeck, a solemn shrine to a young man who gave his life for his brothers in arms.
Now, Marines who served with Dunham are sharing his story in their own words, and a small group of military veterans and film makers are helping them do it as part of The Gift, a crowd-funded documentary film chronicling his life, and legacy.