HAGATNA, Guam (Oct. 25, 2019) – Guam military veterans met with U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Grimes to discuss upcoming changes to base access and privileges under the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), in Hagatna Oct. 25.
Section 621 of the NDAA authorizes privileges at the commissary, Military Service Exchange, and certain Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facilities for Purple Heart recipients, veterans with service-connected disabilities, those who have been Prisoners of War (POW), and registered primary or family caregivers.
Section 626 requires that the Secretary of Defense establish procedures, by which eligible surviving spouses and other next-of-kin, may obtain unescorted access to military installations in order to receive benefits to which they may be entitled to by law or policy.
Both sections are effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The meeting included representation from the Guam Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion.
“I’m very thankful for every opportunity I have to speak with our veterans, and, on this particular occasion, I was invited to sit down with them and have an open dialogue on these very big changes that authorize privileges for services like the commissary and the exchange,” Grimes said.
In order for eligible persons to avail of the aforementioned privileges they must obtain a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) or be issued a letter to specify eligible caregivers, both of which are an approved credential for requesting installation access.
“We will continue to utilize the policies and procedures provided to us by the Secretary of Defense and will work toward ensuring this is a smooth process for those who may be eligible,” Grimes said.