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Dear New Jersey - Stop Slapping Our Veterans In The Face -

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Dear New Jersey – Stop Slapping Our Veterans In The Face

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I rarely involve myself in anything that has to do with politics or the military. I follow along, but more as a silent bystander. However, today is a different story. Today I'm livid. Today I am trying with all of my willpower not to use profanity when I write this. Why? Because, TODAY I found out a friend of mine, who served in the Navy for five years, has been denied "Veteran" status because he just so happens to be a resident of New Jersey.

Yes, you read that right. My friend Steven Schwartz has been denied "Veteran" status because he did not serve in a "combat zone" during a peace mission - AKA the Iraqi freedom/Global War on Terrorism. And this, in the State of New Jersey means he is not a veteran. First of all I don't see why New Jersey has any say, but that's a completely different issue.

The ISSUE is that my friend has written a letter to his Congressman, Bill Pascrell, TWO weeks ago and still has not received a response. Good going New Jersey. You're not only a bunch of jerks slapping military members in the face, but so far, your Congressman is failing to do his job. Your Congressman is there to represent the people, especially the veterans. Pascrell is ignoring a person who voluntarily served our country. And while Congress is supposed to pass laws, they are overlooking one big law failure.

So, what I'm asking is that anyone who reads this, SHARES this on your Social Media outlets, link to it in another post, tell your friends and family, and SPEAK OUT. This is horsesh*t. Woops - see I told you I'm furious. This needs to be changed NOW!

Want to read Schwartz's letter toPascrell? Here it is:

"Congressman Pascrell,

My name is Steven Schwartz. I am a five-year Veteran of the United States Na vy. I served those five years on board a nuclear submarine. I came home about a year ago after my most recent deployment to the "western pacific". As you most likely know, the submarines of the United States carry the name "Silent Service". Very little people know or understand the critical role that they play in intelligence gathering and peacekeeping. However, being a Congressman, I am sure that you have a general idea of their role. If you are not very familiar with submarines, I recommend reading the novel “Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage” by Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, and Annette Lawrence Drew. However, that is all beside the point my real quarrel is with the State of New Jersey’s Veteran Law P.L. 2007, CHAPTER 115. I have read it thoroughly and it only makes mention of “combat zone veterans”. I have a major issue with this especially because large portions of “combat zone veterans” never actually see combat. Of course, they are in a greater danger than people that are stateside. However, with that being said some “combat zone veterans” face no greater danger than you or I driving to work each day. Furthermore, could you consider them being in a greater amount of harm’s way than the crew onboard is the USS George Washington when it caught fire on April 22nd, 2008 or possibly the crew of the USS San Francisco (My Vessel) when she struck an “undersea mountain” on January 8th, 2005. Granted I will not argue the fact that many men and women have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan and seen traumatic events that I am glad I will never have to experience. However, that does not prevent the fact that when my ship was in dry dock in Washington State. I did still applied to be a volunteer to go on an Individual Augmented tour for a year to Iraq in 2007. With submarines being some of the Navy’s most elite, I was denied the opportunity that I would have gladly accepted at the time. Nonetheless, when I participated in my “Western Pacific” deployment we had several missions that were highly classified missions. Obviously, I cannot speak about the missions possibly in 30 years I can however, there is no documentation of where my ship patrolled. Regardless of whether I was in a “combat zone”, I feel I was in harm’s way based solely on our area of operations. In addition, to the area of operation I feel as though whenever I went “underway” I was in grave danger. If you feel otherwise please feel free to look up the most recent event onboard the USS Miami if that had happened while the ship was submerged chances are we would have lost her and her 130-member crew. With everything until now said, please do not forget about the horrible excursions to “Davey Jones’ Locker” that the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion faced. Both ships were lost with their entire crew. In conclusion, I do appreciate the efforts that the actual combat veterans have contributed to this wonderful nation. However, I do feel as though any veteran that has been deployed for greater than 30 days should enjoy the rights to the same benefits. There are many non-combat seeing veterans of “warzones or peacekeeping missions”. As a result, I feel as though I am entitled the same benefits for serving in the United States Armed Forces. Furthermore, while being part of the Elite of the Navy, whom have risked their lives and served onboard a nuclear submarine.

Thank you for your consideration,
Steven M Schwartz"

 

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