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NATCA Celebrates G.I. Bill's New Qualification Rules – Veterans and Dependents in ATC Training Finally Qualify - (3/31/2008)

CONTACT:  Alexandra Caldwell, NATCA National Office, 202-220-9813

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Both veterans and their dependents training to be air traffic controllers are now eligible to qualify for educational support under the G.I. Bill’s new qualification rules.  

New NATCA members can finally apply for benefits under the G.I. Bill upon entering the FAA. NATCA has been fighting for this inclusion for a long time, seeing it a necessary action to take care of those members who served our country and ensure that new NATCA members will finally be able to apply for educational benefits.

NATCA took the lead on this project, initially meeting with the Department of Labor. Both organizations worked for over two years to overturn the FAA’s original declaration that, “it is illegal as it constitutes a conflict of interest, and constitutes dual compensation. Further, there shall be no further processing of applications for this benefit in the future.” 

NATCA worked with both the Department of Labor and Veterans Affairs to gather evidence and formal statements to prove that the FAA’s claims were false and use this information to compel the FAA to re-examine their position.

NATCA President Patrick Forrey celebrated the news and congratulated those involved, particularly Scott Conde, NATCA Oakland Center Facility Representative. “It is only right for the men and women who selflessly served our country to be recognized in this manner,” Forrey said. “This is the least we can do to thank these veterans for their service. Scott took the lead on this, urging the FAA to recognize these selfless men and women. NATCA owes a big thank you to him for this great accomplishment.”

Even after NATCA had gotten the completed benefits package approved by Veterans Affairs the FAA continued to stall the process. In the end invaluable assistance was provided by Congressmen Bob Filner (D-Calif.) and Gerald McNerney (D-Calif.) who made multiple inquires into the FAA delay and provided the final drive for the FAA to submit the package and receive VA approval. 

Starting March 26th, FAA Certifying Officials across the country will receive training from the VA and will then be able to process enrollment paperwork for eligible veterans. They will submit this paperwork directly to the VA, who will then be responsible for processing and final approval of all applications and claims.

NATCA wishes to express its gratitude to the following individuals who were instrumental in the development, delivery and final implementation of this important program.

  • Mike Longueay, Regional Director Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships
  • Jim Penny, Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships Chief of the Division of Standards and National Industry Promotion
  • Sandra Henderson, Department of Veterans Affairs (VBAVACO)
  • Steve McCoy, NCT NATCA
  • Austin Lewis, FAA Veteran Affairs
  • Congressman, Jerry McNerney
  • Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and a Member of the Aviation Subcommittee
  • Scott Conde, NATCA G.I. Bill Benefits National Point of Contact and ZOA NATCA

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