East County News Service
Photo: Dept. of Defense
March 23, 2023 (San Diego) -- Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-48) today was joined by House colleagues Jen Kiggans (VA-02), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), and Jason Crow (CO-06) to introduce the bipartisan Jax Act, which will amend the military records of women veterans deployed alongside Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq – but were never recognized for their service. This has led to the denial of rank, benefits, and critical health care services.
“The Jax Act isn’t just about amending a personnel file. It’s about telling the truth, recognizing courage under fire, and fighting for those who fought for all of us,” said Rep. Issa. “While the bill is named for ‘Jax’ Scott, literally hundreds of brave women soldiers were asked to volunteer for the most dangerous missions, did so without hesitation, and now need us to set this right.”
The legislation provides service credit for members of the military that served in female Cultural Support Teams (CST) in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2010 and 2021. CSTs were comprised of female soldiers who supported Army Special Operations combat forces with a primary task of engaging the female population in an area when it was deemed culturally inappropriate if performed by male counterparts. The lessons learned from dangerous combat missions concluded this was the best and sometimes only way to communicate with innocent civilians caught in a war zone and protect the lives of U.S. troops in harm’s way.
Rep. Houlahan said, “Before women in the military were able to serve in combat roles, they served in critical roles in dangerous combat zones. Many sustained injuries. Too often, these servicewomen have had to fight to receive both the medical care and professional recognition they deserve. The JAX Act changes that. By putting our laws and money where our mouth is, we are telling these women who served literally side-by-side with their male counterparts, that they do matter and that we care and value them,” she said, adding, “We have the responsibility to do that not just with our words, by thanking people for their service, but also by our actions and our deeds.”
“When I took off my uniform, I struggled to get the services I earned. When I finally received my benefits, I dedicated myself to helping my fellow veterans do the same. The JAX Act continues that work,” said Rep. Crow. “The JAX Act will help our female veterans who are part of our Cultural Support Teams get the services they need. I’m glad to join forces with my fellow colleagues and veterans in Congress to address these gaps and give our female veterans the high-quality care they deserve.”
"Being told you hadn’t served in the way you know you had, is not only demoralizing, but detrimental to the mental health of myself and other female special operators — The Jax Act will correct the record and is the first step in ensuring that female special operators get the care and recognition we deserve. Grateful for the support and leadership of Reps Issa, Kiggans, Crow and Houlahan,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jaclyn “Jax” Scott, board member, Special Operations Association of America.
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