Mo. governor signs bills to benefit veterans; Discusses Fort Leonard Wood mission expansion
By NATALIE SANDERS | Waynesville Daily Guide, Mo. | Published: June 15, 2017
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Tribune News Service) — Missouri Governor Eric Greitens spent his morning with soldiers on Fort Leonard Wood before stopping to speak at a reception held by Sustainable Ozarks Partnership (SOP). He signed two bills meant to benefit veterans while he was on the base and spoke at the reception about plans to expand the mission at Fort Leonard Wood.
The two bills Greitens signed are designed to help veterans employment and protect it when they've been deployed as National Guard or Reserve soldiers.
SB 108 is meant to provide protection to Missourians that serve in the National Guard and Reserves in other states when they return from active duty. The law guarantees them employment protection, according to Greitens.
SB 279, according to Greitens, will make it easier for veterans to get a veteran designation on a Missouri driver's license by adding other documents, besides a DD214, to the list of eligible documents to gain the designation such as U.S. Uniformed Services Identification Card, Department of Veterans Affairs photo identification card, as well as other discharge documentation.
After spending his morning on Fort Leonard Wood, running with soldiers to celebrate the Army's birthday and signing the two bills, Greitens went to a reception held by SOP at the Hampton Inn and discussed the importance of sustaining and expanding the mission at Fort Leonard Wood. A little over 100 people were in attendance to hear what Greitens had to say.
Greitens joked that during his run with the soldiers to celebrate the 242 birthday of the Army, a friend texted him that it looked there were 5,000 Army guys chasing one Navy guy. Greitens is a former Navy SEAL.
During his remarks to the crowd and later, in an interview with the media, Greitens discussed three ways to expand Fort Leonard Wood's mission, pointing to the Missouri National Guard, civilian training for law enforcement and search and rescue operations, as well as making the state a place that is desirable for veterans to live.
"We can grow the Missouri National Guard and we can bring more units here to Missouri. When we do this, it creates thousands of jobs for Missourians," Greitens told the Daily Guide in an interview after his remarks to the crowd.
During his remarks to the crowd, Greitens said he was committed to the success of Fort Leonard Wood and the community. He said he had spoken with the head of the Missouri National Guard and were planning to create "opportunities" to grow the Guard's presence at Fort Leonard Wood.
Additionally, he discussed the availability of civilian training at Fort Leonard Wood in areas such as homeland security, search and rescue operations, and other types of training.
"We have an outstanding institution with Fort Leonard Wood," Greitens said.
During his remarks to the crowd he said that there is a "tremendous opportunity to bring more homeland security training from around the country to Fort Leonard Wood."
Greitens pointed to making the state an advantageous place for veterans as a way to continue to support the military base, its missions, and the region surrounding the base, as well as helping the local economies.