Badge Awarded to Soldiers Who Engaged with Enemy Combatant
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo and Joseph Danielsen sponsored to establish a special license plate for motorists who faced imminent danger while serving in the U.S. Army was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.
The bill (A-219) would authorize the Combat Action Badge special license plate program. To apply for the plates, a person must hold a Combat Action Badge, a military badge awarded to an Army soldier who personally engaged an enemy combatant, as certified on his or her DD-214 or on a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. A $50 initial fee payable to the Motor Vehicle Commission and an annual $10 renewal fee would provide financial support for the program.
“Those who earned a Combat Action Badge put themselves in harm’s way in order to preserve freedom and democracy in the United States of America,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “A special license plate will give them a means of showing pride in their military service while also funding services for their fellow combat veterans.”
Under the bill, the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs would contribute a maximum of $25,000 in non-public money to offset the initial costs of producing, issuing and publicizing the availability of Combat Action Badge license plates and any computer programming that may be necessary to implement the program. After deducting the cost of producing and publicizing the plates, the department then would use additional funds collected from applications for plates and renewals to support programs benefiting combat veterans.
“Any veteran who met the eligibility requirement for the Combat Action Badge deserves the opportunity to apply for a special license plate,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset), who served in the U.S. Army Reserve. “There’s really no downside to a program that honors veterans, costs nothing for taxpayers and funds help for those who were willing to give their lives for the country.”
The chief of staff of the United States Army approved creation of the Combat Action Badge in May 2005 to recognize soldiers who personally engaged an enemy in close combat in an imminent danger area. Recognition for close combat previously was provided only to members of infantry units through the Combat Infantry Badge. The Combat Action Badge extended the opportunity for recognition for close combat to members of the United States Army outside of infantry units.
The measure was advanced by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, of which DeAngelo is vice-chair.