Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing Construction of Family Housing for Military Personnel and Their Dependents.

September 01, 1954

I AM VERY HAPPY to sign H.R. 9924, which authorizes construction of some 12,000 sets of family-type quarters for military personnel and their dependents. I most earnestly hope that this legislation is but the beginning of a continuing program to meet the housing needs of our servicemen.

Many of our military installations are remotely located where family housing simply does not exist, or in congested urban areas where such civilian housing as is available is inadequate even for the needs of the non-military population. The result has been that many of our career servicemen have had to be separated for long periods from their families. Many others must pay excessive rentals even to occupy grossly inadequate housing.

The imposition of such irritating hardships and unnecessary sacrifices upon our Service personnel has induced many of them to return to civilian life and greatly complicated the always difficult peacetime task of maintaining an effective professional fighting force. The problem goes beyond housing. It includes medical care and survivorship benefits for dependents, off-duty educational opportunities, and an advantageous retirement system. For generations such so-called "fringe benefits" have characterized our military services. These benefits have helped to compensate our uniformed personnel for expenses and discomforts which are imposed upon them and have served also as a supplement to the historically modest service pay. But during recent years--at a time when our need for experienced service personnel has been the greatest in our peacetime history--we have been energetically curtailing inducements to our citizens to make our armed forces a career.

This new law is, therefore, a good beginning--a start on the larger task of assuring to our trained men and women in uniform the advantages and opportunities and inducements necessary to make them wish to remain permanently in their country's service.

In the next Congress I hope we can carry forward this good beginning in the field of military housing, and I shall recommend that renewed attention be given to the improvement of medical care and survivorship benefits for servicemen's dependents. In this way we shall powerfully strengthen our nation's defense.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 9924 is Public Law 765, 83d Congress (68 Stat. 1119).

The statement was released at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colo.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing Construction of Family Housing for Military Personnel and Their Dependents. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231780

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