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Vets may get special plate decals
By Emelie Rutherford / News Staff Writer
Saturday, February 12, 2005

MetroWest lawmakers are rallying behind an effort to grant war veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan a privilege now only available to veterans from past armed conflicts: special license plate decals.

State Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, is the lead Senate sponsor of legislation filed this week to create the decals that are affixed to general veterans plates to reflect the tour of duty.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles provides decals for veterans of World War II and even conflicts such as in Grenada, but does not make them for those fresh from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sen. Brown said.

"A lot of these guys, they come home and they like to go out and look at their car and say, 'Hey, we did something,'" said Brown, a National Guardsman whose district includes Natick and Franklin. "It's something that can be done pretty easily with minimal cost."

Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth Gormley, who returned from Iraq last year and works for the Franklin Department of Public Works, predicts the decals would be a hit.

"There's quite a few people in my unit who have the veterans plates, they're in their 20s, 30s," said Gormley, 34, adding he's sure they'd like the more-specific decals. "A lot of people I think are proud of where they were."

Marine Cpl. Steven Mazzuchelli of Milford, who said all his buddies who served in Iraq also have those veterans plates, agreed they'd like the differentiation. Though he doesn't have a car, he likes the decals idea because they differentiate between a veteran and a war veteran. And there's a potential perk, he said.

"It could help you with tickets," Mazzuchelli, who returned from Iraq two years ago, said with a laugh.

Marlborough veterans agent Gary Brown said veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan "absolutely" should be eligible for the decals.

"Why treat these people any different?," he asked.

Yet Army Maj. Stephen Misarski, a chaplain and reservist who returned from Iraq last year, said he won't be rushing out to get one of the plates. He thinks other services the Legislature could provide, including counseling and medical care, are more important.

The legislation, whose primary House sponsor was Rep. Edward Connolly, D-Everett, has been co-sponsored by 60 lawmakers including Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, Rep. Marie Parente, D-Milford and Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin. It calls for creating a commission to design and distribute the decals.

The Registry does not have a prohibition against making the decals for veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and just needs some prodding, according to Jonathan Little, legislative director for Brown.
 

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These plates would be a good thing. But they should be free for the vets when they come home. I don't know if it has changed but back when I got mine you had to pay for the vanity cost(extra). And you have to renew it annually. It just was not worth it. I turned mine in.
 

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They do cost the same as regular plates...40 bucks, it's just that the extra 40 goes to the Soldiers Homes in Holyoke and Chelsea. So it's Vets helping Vets.
 

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I'm glad it changed to every 2 years. I can remember what a pain in the ass it was every year my motorcylce registration and my vet plate reg. would come at the same time. Too much $$. Thanks for the update.
 
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Barbrady";p="56392 said:
These plates would be a good thing. But they should be free for the vets when they come home. I don't know if it has changed but back when I got mine you had to pay for the vanity cost(extra). And you have to renew it annually. It just was not worth it. I turned mine in.
Barbrady, just to clarify the above for you. The Vets from OEF/OIF are already eligible for VET plates. They are also eligible for the branch of service decal that is placed over the Flag. The legislation would allow the words "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Iraqi Freedom" to be added to the bottom half of the decal. There is no additional charge for the decal. All is needed is a new RMV form for submitted.
 

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Thanks MSP75. I have seen similar decals like that, Vietnam and Persian Gulf. I'm glad the RMV is taking care of these guys/gals.
 
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