Retired service members, along with active duty and reserve troops, have long had the ability to travel free of cost among military installations through the Space-Available travel program. However, fully disabled veterans were not eligible for the program until August 2018, when lawmakers wrote a measure into the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. The act also includes a 2.6 percent basic pay increase for active duty members.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who also serves as vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, in 2017. He noted that if military aircraft has space available for military service members, veterans who are fully disabled should be welcome, as well. Those eligible for the program can travel anywhere in the United States as well as to Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands.
The author, an alumnus of Valdosta State College, Brigadier General (retired) Carl Buhler (https://bit.ly/2AN3DVD) leverages over 28 years of aerospace logistics leadership experience with the United States Air Force and now serves as CEO of Richmond, Virginia-based Buhler Consulting, LLC (https://buhlerconsulting.com). Now retired from the Air Force, Carl Buhler maintains membership with multiple relevant professional organizations, including the Military Officers Association of America.