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Weekly Column: Pressing For Passage Of Major Richard Star Act For Idaho Veterans

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

I had the opportunity recently to stand with fellow proponents of the Major Richard Star Act, legislation that would provide combat-disabled veterans full disability and retirement pay, to press for its enactment.  Fellow U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana), U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida), Tonya Star, wife of the late Richard Star, and I joined with veterans and advocates in front of our nation’s Capitol building as we made the case for including the Major Richard Star Act in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act.

Major Richard Star was a father, husband, decorated war veteran and friend.  He was a tireless advocate for ensuring all active duty and retired military personnel across the country, including Idaho, receive the full care and benefits they have earned.  He is the namesake of our legislation to do just that.

While Major Star is no longer with us, his wife, Tonya, honors his legacy by carrying on this important work.  Her courage to continue this fight is admirable and deeply valued as we work together to advance the legislation.  As she reflected on enactment of the legislation being Richard’s greatest goal and the need to not stop until we get it done, she said, “These men and women earned their retirements the hard way.”

The Major Richard Star Act would correct a severe injustice by providing combat-wounded veterans with less than 20 years of service both their disability compensation and retirement pay without reduction.  More than two-thirds of the Senate agrees, with an astounding 71 co-sponsors of the legislation Senator Tester and I introduced in the Senate, S. 344.  The companion bill, H.R. 1282, has 327 supporters in the House of Representatives.

The legislation also has the strong backing of leading Veterans Service Organizations, which highlights the importance of ensuring medically retired and combat-injured veterans receive full compensation.  This includes Idaho veterans who have informed my decision to co-lead the legislation and have worked to gain support for ending pay offsets for medically retired combat veterans.

The support for this correction is clear.  The Major Richard Star Act must be included in the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, or any other legislative vehicle, as soon as possible.  More than 50,000 veterans, including hundreds in Idaho, could benefit from this change.  I look forward to enactment of this measure to honor the service of all veterans and Major Star’s enduring legacy.


(U.S. Senator for Idaho Mike Crapo pressing for enactment of the Major Richard Star Act on March 5, 2024)


(U.S. Senator for Idaho Mike Crapo with Tonya Star, wife of late Major Richard Star, at March 5, 2024, news conference advocating for enactment of the Major Richard Star Act.)

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