A bill I sponsored, S. 909 gets a hearing in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday morning. The legislation grants members of the South Carolina National Guard or Reserve Components that are awarded a Bronze Star Medal or higher military award for combat operations free tuition to any state supported college, university or technical education institution.
General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Roosevelt dated February 3, 1944, wrote: “The fact that the ground, troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close in personal combat with the enemy, makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance. The award of the Air Medal has had an adverse reaction on the ground troops, particularly the Infantry Riflemen who are now suffering the heaviest loses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.”
The Executive Order of President Roosevelt established the Bronze Star Medal in February of 1944 for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy. Its given to one who distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. South Carolina’s National Guard estimates that of the 8,000 members deployed since September 11 2001, 25 have received the Bronze Star Medal to date. This equates to an award rate of .3%.