TAPS Applauds Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Calls on the Department of Defense to Activate the National Guard Under Title 32

Guard and Reservists in All States and Territories Deserve Federal Benefits During Unprecedented Crisis


ARLINGTON, Va. –  The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) applauds the leadership of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for requesting that Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper federally activate all members of the National Guard serving due to COVID-19

TAPS fully endorses the letter sent on April 2, 2020 by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and hopes that the Defense Department will do the right thing and activate the National Guard under Title 32 federal orders for COVID-19 support. 

“TAPS wants to ensure our Guard and Reservists responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic are guaranteed the appropriate benefits. Their service, even within their state, is part of an essential whole of government response to stop a deadly global pathogen; one which has no respect for borders or duty status,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS president and founder. 

As of April 7, 2020, 27,000 members of the National Guard have been activated across all states and territories during the COVID-19 pandemic, but only those in 21 states have been activated under Title 32 federal orders. 

Those on state active duty orders are serving alongside their active duty counterparts but are not earning the same benefits. Their families are not receiving access to the same health care during this pandemic, and if they die from COVID-19, their families will not be eligible for the same death benefits as active duty military families. 

“These are our nation's first responders and their devotion to serve both community and country in war and peace is without question. They answer when our nation needs them and they in turn deserve the benefits earned for such selfless service,” said Carroll. "Title 32 federal orders are essential to guaranteeing the level of support given to our troops reflects their level of selfless service during these unprecedented times." 

Carroll retired as a Major in the US Air Force Reserve following 30 years of service, where her career included service as Chief, Casualty Operations, HQ USAF. Her last assignment was on the HQ USAF National Security and Emergency Preparedness staff in the Pentagon. Prior to joining the USAFR, Major Carroll served 16 years in the Air National Guard as a Transportation Officer, Logistics Officer, and Executive Officer. She founded TAPS in 1994 after the death of her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in a National Guard plane crash killing all eight Guardsmen on board. 

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the leading national organization providing compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 90,000 survivors of fallen military in the form of peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been profoundly affected by a death of a military loved one. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277). 

Media Interviews: Please contact media@taps.org or 202.588.8277 to arrange interviews with TAPS staff and survivors.