National Guardsman says state benefits deserved - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

National Guardsman says state benefits deserved

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January 20, 2005

Albany -- Lt. Governor Mark Taylor is pushing for tax breaks and more benefits for the state's national guard and reservists. One South Georgia guardsman say he would appreciate the help.

It's quiet at the Albany headquarters of the Georgia National Guard. Most of the citizen soldiers are in Fort Stewart training, before heading for Iraq.

Sgt. First Class Frank Mills says the Lt. Governor's proposal of tax breaks and benefits are welcome. Sgt. Mills said "It's the thought, that someone out there is caring for the soldiers."

The Second Battalion, 121st Infantry was activated in December. The Lt. Governor's proposal would waive taxes on the soldier's non-military income, and have the state pay their life insurance premiums. Mills said "Life insurance, I think the premiums are like sixteen dollars a month. But that's sixteen dollars that would go into the spouses pocket to help buy food, pay light bill, whatever."

 Sgt. Mills is awaiting treatment for skin cancer. Then he hopes to rejoin his unit before it leave for Iraq. After two tours in Vietnam, and one in Desert Storm, he still believes strongly in the National Guard's mission. "I feel like it's my duty. It's what I been paid for, what I've been trained to do."

Mills says his comrades are real heroes, and any help that they receive while on active duty is well deserved.

The Lt. Governor is also proposing boosts in college education benefits for returning national guardsmen and reservists. Sgt. Mills said many guardsmen would use that benefit.

posted at 4:28 PM by jimw@walb.com