Wounded servicemen and servicewomen could soon trade their dog tags for congressional ID cards.
A new program in the House of Representatives aims to hire dozens of service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. They'll work for members of Congress, committees, leadership offices, and support services offices.
The $5 million initiative advanced Monday when a retired marine, Patricia Orsini, was named director of the House of Representatives' Wounded Warrior Program. The program first was announced last November, on the eve of Veterans Day, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers. Pelosi, joined by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Rep. Robert Brady, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said she knows from visiting wounded servicemen and -women that they have the right stuff. They "possess a wide range of valuable skills and experiences, as well as enthusiasm for hard work, which would be enormously valuable to any employer," the lawmakers said in a letter to Daniel Beard, the chief administrative officer for the House.
The aim is to bring 25 people on board by the end of September and 50 more in the following year, according to Beard.
Orsini, 51, a 30-year veteran of the Marines from Bellmawr, N.J., is a retired master gunnery sergeant with considerable experience helping injured and disabled service members make the transition to civilian life. In addition to helping the wounded, she has honored the dead. Orsini in recent years has escorted the remains of fallen marines from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to their hometowns for burial. Earlier in her career, she sounded taps as the bugler at military funerals.