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Washington, D.C.— Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Steve Buyer retired from the United States Army Reserve on Thursday, after thirty years of service, in a ceremony that also honored the retirement of the Congressman’s brother, Col. John J. Buyer, Jr. after 29 and a half years of service in the United States Army.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh hosted the ceremony, which also included remarks from General Craig McKinley of the National Guard Bureau and Major General Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General for the Indiana National Guard.
Congressman John Shimkus presented and read a House Resolution that honored the Congressman’s military career. Army Secretary McHugh presented Buyer with the Legion of Merit; National Guard Bureau Chief Craig McKinley presented Buyer with The National Guard Minute Man Award; Army Reserve Chief General Jack Stultz presented Buyer with the Eagle Award; and Indiana National Guard Adjutant General Martin Umbarger presented Buyer with the Indiana Distinguished Service Medal.
Congressman Buyer’s military service provided him considerable insight into his role on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, in which he served for 18 years. His tenure included leading the Committee as Chairman and Ranking Republican.
Committed to providing quality health care and benefits to our nation’s veterans and their dependents, Congressman Buyer has a distinguished record of supporting veterans. His accomplishments include: helping improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care delivery system; co-authoring legislation providing relief from a century-old law that required a dollar-for-dollar offset of military retirement pay for VA disability; and creating the Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance program that has provided thousands of dollars in additional life insurance coverage to servicemembers who suffered a traumatic injury. He also authored legislation that centralized VA’s IT systems, and chaired passage of legislation to improve federal contracting opportunities for veteran and disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Recognizing the value of sports as a component of rehabilitation from severe injury, Buyer initiated the effort to ensure a pathway for our nation’s injured heroes to participate in the U.S. Paralympics and other community-based sports programs.
Upon his military retirement, Congressman Buyer issued the following remarks:
“For thirty years I have had the honor to wear the Army’s uniform. I am grateful and humbled for the opportunity and I thank all who have supported my career. It has been truly remarkable to serve the men and women who wear the uniform. As I now retire from the U.S. Army Reserve, I pause to reflect upon the people who have shaped me and supported me through this challenging and fulfilling experience.
My wife Joni has adorned my side and has supported me through my military service, both during war and peace, and from the very beginning of my Congressional career. Joni has continuously given me strength and encouraged me to fight for my beliefs and causes which meant being away from home to work on behalf of our country. My daughter Colleen and son Ryan have shared their Dad to serve the great causes of this nation. And my parents, sisters and brother have supported me, sending me to serve the country with great ideals and principles.”
Congressman Buyer’s military honors include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4), Army Achievement Medal (2), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (2), National Defense Service Medal, South-West Asia Service Medal (3), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Liberation Medal Kuwait, Army Service Ribbon (2), Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon (2), the Legion of Merit, The National Guard Minute Man Award, the Eagle Award, and the Indiana Distinguished Service Medal.
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