War is a dirty business, yet it is part of human life for as long as man has lived. During this long period of world history, many nations have dominated the stage by force of arms. The British built a fantastic empire and now the United States has a military presence all over the world. This necessitates a very large army and by corollary, there are also a growing number of veterans.These are soldiers who have retired on expiry of their terms of engagement. This is also true in the British army. In 2015, Congress passed the Veterans Identification Card Act, 2015 in the US that laid down the blueprint for issuing ID cards to all veterans from November this year.

As reported by Stars and Stripes army news magazine.

No cards for ‘bad paper’ discharges

Normally there would be no controversy about what looks like a simple act of issuing ID cards. Now it seems that all veterans will not be given these cards resulting in dismay all around. Much of the initial enthusiasm has been dampened by the knowledge that the cards will not be issued to all servicemen and will be limited to those who only have an honourable discharge. It means that anyone who does not have an honourable discharge often referred to as 'bad paper' discharge will not be eligible. This includes veterans who have been released on administrative or medical reasons that have nothing to do with disciplinary cases.


The US Act does not make any differences and only mentions veterans, but it is interpreted to mean an honourable discharge as the only eligibility criteria. Many veterans are unhappy about this, but it stands to reason that anyone who has not received an honourable discharge really does not deserve all the facilities and perks that may come to those who hold these cards.

But there is a case that soldiers who were removed for PTSD, TBI or adjustment; anxiety, bipolar and substance abuse disorders should be included. Presently the Department of Defence says there are 57000 such soldiers as reported by military news .com.

Welcome step

All the same, the present step is welcome and will be a mark of recognition for the veteran who has worn the uniform of the US armed forces.

He or she will feel a sense of pride of having served in an elite force.The cards can be applied for by filling in a form with necessary documentary proof of having received the required honourable discharge. It may be noted that these cards are not to be confused with a Veteran Health Identification card or a DoD Uniformed Services/retiree ID card.