Skip to comments.Former Rep. Sonny Montgomery dead at 85
Posted on 05/21/2006 4:41:12 PM PDT by Ligeia
JACKSON, Miss. - Former Rep. Gillespie V. Sonny Montgomery, who during his 30 years in Congress pushed through a modernized GI Bill that boosted recruiting for the all-volunteer force, died Friday. He was 85.
On Thursday, the House voted to name a national defense authorization bill in his honor.
A conservative Democrat, Montgomery represented an east-central Mississippi district in Congress from 1967 to 1997, and for 13 years chaired the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
He himself was a 35-year military veteran, serving in the Army in Europe during World War II, then returned to active duty during the Korean War as part of the National Guard. He retired from the Mississippi National Guard in 1980 with the rank of major general.
The GI Bill has existed in some form since 1944, when it was passed to provide education and other benefits for returning World War II veterans. It was modernized for a peacetime, volunteer force as the Montgomery GI Bill in 1984. Among other things, the Montgomery Bill was the first to offer education benefits to National Guard and Reserve personnel.
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The Veteran's Champion
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