Many of the obituaries for former Rep. G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery, the Mississippi Democrat who died on Friday, have focused on his work on behalf of the armed forces and military veterans during three decades of service in the U.S. House of Representatives (see Associated Press obituary). The achievement that the congressman himself regarded as most important, however, was the enactment, in 1984, of an updated version of the GI Bill. The legislation, which came to be known as the Montgomery GI Bill, expanded the tuition benefits to military personnel and broadened the pool of veterans who were eligible for them. The law helped the Pentagon to continue to fill its ranks, even as it shifted to an all-volunteer force. A Chronicle article in 1994, on the 50th anniversary of the original GI Bill, and an essay in 2004, on the 60th anniversary, give a sense of Mr. Montgomery’s legislative accomplishment.
May 13, 2006