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100% vets military hop flights.


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It doesn't look good.



"I am an imperfect human being. So are you. That's the way it is. Some imperfections are obvious. Others are not. When we see the imperfections in others, it touches us deeply, sometimes with compassion, sometimes with revulsion, sometimes with feelings of helplessness, but always with emotion."


Disabled Veterans are unjustly denied the Military Space Available Travel Privilege. Many reasons are stated for this denial, but the truth is based on emotion rather than reason. This denial by the DOD is analogus to "a mother cat who tries to hide or deny her deformed babies". This exclusion is also a violation of DOD Regulation 32CFR56. It could also be argued that Disabled Veterans more than anyone else have earned this privilege.

A line by line examination of this DOD Policy Military Qualifier Statement speaks for itself. My comments are included to show the distortions used in their policy statement. The DOD Military Qualifier line-by-line policy statement provided to disabled veterans when seeking info on their eligibility for Space A Travel are bolded in this example.

It should be noted that this exclusionary policy is solely a DOD decision. Congress has already given them the authority to grant disabled veterans the Space Available Travel privilege. .

. Department of Defense-Office of the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense For Logistics.- Military Airlift Qualifier policy statement titled "Space Available Travel for 100 percent Disabled Veterans."

Line 1 " The Department of Defense (DoD) greatly values the contributions of every veteran, especially those who have sacrificed their health in the service of their country. "

Comment: They value our contribution by excluding us from a privilege granted to over 7,000,000 others including the ROTC, public health , teachers, DOD employees, foreign military, the boy scouts, VIPs, etc

Line 2 " However, the primary purpose of the Department of Defense (DoD) space- available travel program is to provide active duty service members a respite from the rigors of military service"

Comment: The statement is only partially true. It is also a perk. Many space available flight seats are used by others for vacations, and free travel. .

Line 3 " This travel privilege is becoming increasingly critical to our active duty personnel, who are experiencing more frequent family separations due to the DoD's high operational tempo"

Comment: Not quite true. Compared to other times and other situations, the high operational tempo is no different or any more critical. No doubt the active military and retirees deserve this privilege. This is no justification for excluding us.. The Defense Authorization Bills of 1998, and 1999 provided funding for disabled veterans participation in the Space Avaialble Travel, yet is was totally ignored by the DOD.

Line 4 " The privilege is extended to retired members at a lower priority, in recognition of the fact that they may still be recalled to active duty, and as a reward for their many years of military service".

Comment: Does not sacrificing our health for our country qualify us for this "reward", or are we to be discarded because we are of no further use to the military?

Line 5 "The underlying criteria for extending the travel privilege to other categories of passengers is their support to the mission being performed by active duty military personnel, and to the enhancement of active duty Service members' quality of life."

Comment: When enlisting, the military promises to provide "quality of life" benefits to active duty personnel, and also to those who honorably retire or are disabled from their military service. Disabled Veterans have especially earned "quality of life" consideration by their physical and emotional sacrifiice. When you exclude a disabled veteran from a privilege granted to others , you are dishonoring us. You make us feel like "second class citizens". Its as if we have done something wrong for being disabled. DO YOU GET IT NOW?

Line 6 "In either case, veterans who are not on active duty or retired are not authorized space-available travel"

Comment: This statement is misleading. If you are military retired and have the space available privilege , are you not still a veteran? For instance, retired military are veterans. Also retired National Guard and Reserves are veterans. I do agree that Junior who attends college in Europe and uses space available to fly home each summer is not a veteran.

Line 10 "If the privilege were extended to the over 164,000 totally disabled veterans or other categories of personnel, the increases in numbers of people seeking space-available travel could overtax present resources and diminish the limited benefit currently available to active duty personnel."

Comment: This statement is a total distortion. Less than 10% of the 100% disabled veterans are physically able to fly. Except during summer peak periods, the space available flights are under utilized. The DOD should be looking for other interested groups like disabled veterans to justify the cost of the 11 Space Available Flight Centers, the chartered Patriot Express Commercial Airlines and the 20,000 military personnel that directly or indirectly support the Space Available Flight program.

Line 11 " "Already those currently authorized space- available travel are often disillusioned by the contrast between the promise of space-available travel as a benefit of military service, and the reality of the arduous conditions often encountered when they use the system.

Comment: This statement does have some validity. but should not be used a reason for denying us this privilege Most users are not disillusioned and do not consider Space Available flights arduous. The Air Force Times advertises the many advantages of flying the "Patriot Express" ( a space available major component) equating it to "First Class Commercial Travel". In most instances, the Space Available Program is a valued asset by those who use it. Even with its shortcomings, over 3 million military, retirees and dependents use it to do international vacations and shopping. Military base lodgings in foreign countries are used to minimize vacation expenses.It is a great opportunity to travel the world for little or no money.

To conclude, the Space Available Travel Privilege is a valuable asset. The exclusion of disabled veterans from this privilege is morally and legally wrong.  It also violates the DODs Regulations pertaining to accessibility to the handicapped.. It indicates a lack of compassion by some to those who have paid the greatest price while serving their country. This exclusion literally borders on the irrational, not reason, nor logic, nor fairness, nor legally correct. It does not matter if only a few disabled veterans will ever use the privilege, or that it complicates the life of the military. It is a major violation of Federal Laws governing the Disabled.

Ed Prifogle

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Companies, too, such as car companies, continue the discrimation against disabled Vets, by denying disabled Vets a MILITARY discount.

GM:  GM is probably the most liberal in giving discounts to disabled Vets, but most of the other guys severly restrict or eliminate Vets altogether.  However, GM military/Vet discounts come and go at the whim of company big shots:


Here is Nissan's "carefully worded" military appreciation program cleverly disguised to omit disabled Vets:

Nissan:"Active and Reserve US Military, Retired Military[*], Veterans discharged from active service within the past year, and their spouses and partners, can all benefit from this exclusive offer. Signing up for the program is easy. All you need is proof of service, and a Vehicle Purchase Plan (VPP) Claim ID. We like to think of it as 'Operation: Appreciation'."

Source:  http://www.nissanusa.com/military?dcp=ppn.102243975.&dcc=0.275334294&gclid=Cj0KEQiA-ZSzBRDp3ITHm5KO_JYBEiQA1JjHHFwkwiLIHfTZIHlZnzSs3nNudMsS_Xswcxzk5Ufp1wAaAoWc8P8HAQ

Ford:  http://www.fordsalutesthosewhoserve.com/       Ford links its disabled Vets program to DAV!!  I guess that means VFW, MOPH Vets are out of luck!   


We can never fully thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made for our Country – but helping you save is a start. As a Veteran that is still within 180 days of active service, you are eligible for the $500 Bonus Cash Offer.

If you are greater than 180 days, you still may qualify for these other benefits listed below:

  • X-Plan Partner Benefits – for members of the following groups:
    • DAV – Disabled American Veterans
    • PVA – Paralyzed Veterans Association
    • Veterans Advantage
(If you are a member of these groups, please reference your member benefit website for more details.)
  • $1,000 Mobility Motoring Program Offer – for those Ford Customers that are in need of a $1,000 reimbursement for adaptive equipment installation for their Ford or Lincoln vehicles.


HONDA:  Honda gives it to retirees, but not disabled Vets:


Toyota:   Toyota also "hates on" disabled Vets, giving the discount to all Vets but ONLY IF discharged in the past year:


Hyundai:  Hyundi is on the "hate Disabled Vets" bandwagon, too:


Kia:  Not to be out discriminated against disabled Vets, Kia is for active, reserves, AND THIER IMMEDIATE families:


Chrysler at least "calls it the military and Veteran" program:


Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am retired AD with over 20 years, 100% scheduler and a former Aircrew member.  I did not realize it the Space-A policies excluded disabled vets but, in reality, you aren't missing out on much.

  I have only attempted to use Space-A one time (for my family) while stationed at Okinawa.  We were repositioning to Guam with our 'full package', G.O. #1(no alcohol allowed, period) and on a rolling standby.   We were getting out of the way of a Typhoon and maintaining our readiness.  BUT, we knew we weren't likely to go anywhere and had nice rooms on the beach at the Hilton. So, one of my pilot's wife and family were hopping to Guam on the Tankers.  My wife decided to take the kids and join her.  Well, the Tankers found hanger space and never repositioned.  The 'wives' decided to hop on a C-5 with the mail and go ahead and go to Guam that way.  There were no problems there, they beat us to Guam and we met them at the beach.

  It seemed to work great and we were there a little less then a week in Guam. The problem was getting them back.  They could never fly on an aircraft I was crewing on.  Besides, we NEVER, EVER opened seats for Space-A, even in a situation that was obviously self-serving.  This also eliminated my family from flying on another one of our tails.  So, Space-A return...no problem, right?  Well, my wife and my 8 and 9 year old daughters spent 5 days LIVING in the airport!  The had a few opportunities to go to Hawaii or Travis in Cali, but that's it.  After 5 days I had to get them one way commercial tickets for about $ 3K. 

I used to see old vets stuck all over he world because they depended on Space A.  The only way to do Space A successfully, IMO, is to just go, with no plan and a pocket full of money.  I will probably try and do it sometime, if I can handle it physically and financially, it could be a very good time, or not.

Another facet of this is the variety of injuries a person can suffer during their service and the issue with "who is going to screen them and make sure that it is safe for them to fly".  Keep in mind, we have missions in the military, we contract out all the 'cattle car' and 'Patriot Express' flights for a reason; we don't have the manpower or equipment available to do those missions and yet, we continue to cut our Forces year after year while issuing more and more contracts.  I need to stop here to avoid entering the political realm, but post any questions you may have from the perspective of the crew, regulations, etc.  I still carry all the corporate knowledge of my former profession around with me, even though I try and forget it, lol.


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  • HadIt.com Elder

All of the "whatever" aside, the military has had a policy of trying to avoid or even eliminate "Space A" anyway possible.

In the Vietnam era, I flew  from Vietnam to Japan (under orders) on a C-141 that was empty, other than less than a handful of others also under orders.  All of us fit in either the four extra seats in the cockpit or the crew rest area. The next day, after crew rest, the plane flew (empty) back to the US. At the same time, there were multiple applications on file for Space A back to the US. Instead of routing the 141 to the airport that handled Space A, it was ordered to land at an alternate field that had nil passenger accommodations. The field we landed at was such that the A/C commander signed us off as crew for purposes of entry into Japan.

For decades, we have lived near an AFB that at one time had daily flights of executive A/C to/from DC. The flights were almost never open to any Space A. Why? "Can't have the hoi polloi mingling with the "normal" passengers on govt. business." For window dressing, very occasionally, a general officer would "permit" selected space A passengers to fly space A. Excuses given? Test flights, limited A/C capability, and so forth. 

Decades ago, I was offered an opportunity to fly in the back seat of an F-15 two seater from Florida to Chicago O'Hare. (and return)

I had to decline, even thought I had had some time in an F-15 simulator, since I had open heart surgery a couple of years before, and the potential of high G (to me, not a fighter pilot) was the deciding factor. The surgery was also a disqualifying event for my FAA first class medical.

Edited by Chuck75 (see edit history)
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Honestly, I can't imagine a worst way to travel than in the back of a C-130. Others (tankers) have some comfort pallets, but tend to use jump seats. The heavies might be set up for space-a, but for as frequent as flight planning changes, diverts happen, etc., I wouldn't want to be on the 'depending' end of the planning if not mission essential to the AF.

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  • 1 year later...

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