The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure introduced by Congressman Gene Taylor to name the FY07 National Defense Authorization Act in honor of fellow Mississippian and former colleague Congressman G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery.
Montgomery, who served in Europe during WWII and eventually rose to the rank of Major General in the Mississippi National Guard, spent his entire congressional career championing benefits for U.S. servicemen and veterans. His efforts culminated in the Veterans' Education Assistance Act, more commonly known as the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which gives veterans financial assistance to attend college after leaving the service.
"I hope that this bill would make Sonny proud," said Taylor. "The House has worked hard over the past year to make sure that our Nation's Guard and Reservists have permanent access to TRICARE. We were simply building on what Sonny started: taking care of our citizen soldiers."
The House passed the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery FY07 National Defense Authorization Act with a vote of 396 - 31.
During his service in WWII, Montgomery was awarded the Bronze Star, the European Theater Ribbon, and Commendation Ribbon. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War in 1951. Montgomery returned to Mississippi and served in the Mississippi Senate from 1956 until 1966, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Over his thirty years in the House, Montgomery served as Chairman of three committees: the Select Committee on Military Involvement in Southeast Asia, the Select Committee on Missing in Action in Southeast Asia, and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Montgomery retired in 1997 but continued to represent the National Guards' interests in Congress by splitting his time between Meridian, MS, and Washington.
Montgomery was honored for his life-long service to the Nation in November 2005, when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In recent months, the 85-year-old Montgomery has battled health problems. He continues to reside in Meridian, MS.