Washington, D.C.- With Honor Action is proud to announce our endorsement of the Jax Act (H.R. 1753) sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, which would amend the records of female combat veterans who were never formally recognized for their service.
This legislation is named after Jaclyn “Jax” Scott, who served on a Cultural Support Team (CST) in Afghanistan. CSTs were units made up of female service members who deployed to combat zones alongside Special Operations Forces, before women were technically allowed to serve in combat roles. Because of this, they were never recognized for their combat service and missed out on rank, benefits, and health services.
“This is long overdue. These women served with courage and commitment alongside our Navy SEALS and Army Rangers,” said With Honor Action Co-Founder and CEO Rye Barcott. “Hundreds of women put their lives on the line without hesitation to fight with and support our military and should be treated as such.”
Annie Kleiman, a former With Honor Action Inaugural board member, and Rebekah Edmondson were members of a CST and trained Afghan women to serve as special operators in the Afghan National Army. They went on multiple deployments to Afghanistan and their service would finally be recognized with passage of the Jax Act.
“My CST sisters and I joined the program because we wanted to be part of something bigger than ourselves. But as women serving with Special Operation Forces units before the ground combat ban was lifted, we are also used to having our service questioned and minimized,” said Annie Kleiman. “The JAX act is an important step in validating our service, and I am grateful to the members of Congress and organizations supporting this legislation.”
“None of us served as CSTs for recognition, but truth be told, we were out there dodging the same rounds as our male counterparts. Passing the Jax Act would be a step in the right direction to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifices made and honor our colleagues, 1st Lt. Ashley White and Capt. Jennifer Moreno, who was killed in action while deployed as CSTs,” said Rebekah Edmondson.
The Jax Act has strong bipartisan support in the House from For Country Caucus members Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Rep. Jason Crow, Rep. Pat Ryan, Rep. Seth Moulton. Rep. Zach Nunn, and Rep. Chris Deluzio as well as in the Senate with Sen. Jacky Rosen, Sen. Joni Ernst, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and Sen. Dan Sullivan. The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Special Operations Associations of America (SOAA) have also all supported the bill. Congress must pass this legislation and formally recognize Cultural Support Teams as combat veterans.