PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Tom Wheeler held a town hall meeting for more than 800 Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) students and staff onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, Feb. 28.
Wheeler and other DOJ officials are visiting northwest Florida military installations to conduct Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) seminars organized by the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative (SVI).
NATTC Commanding Officer Capt. Hugh Rankin greeted Wheeler, SVI representatives Silas Darden and Tanya Kirwan, and DOJ Civil Rights Division representative Elizabeth Singer. They were provided briefs on the various training NATTC Sailors receive.
Wheeler is responsible for the enforcement of federal statutes prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.
"What these young men and women -- these young Sailors and Marines -- are learning here is truly astonishing," Wheeler said. "The level at which our military trains and ultimately operates is unparalleled, and being able to see how these service members are learning the skills to enhance our military capabilities is something I hold quite dear."
Since its inception of the SCRA (formerly known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act), they have worked to strengthen and enhance DOJ efforts on behalf of service members, veterans, and their families in three specific areas: enforcement, outreach and training. The DOJ Civil Rights Division visits military installations across the country to provide training on SCRA, and to identify legal issues impacting service members in order to better utilize its enforcement resources.
"It is our hope that by educating military members about this law which offers them such broad financial protections, it will enable them to avoid companies who seek to prey upon those who so bravely protect our freedoms," said Darden.
The SCRA is a federal law which provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosure, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments.
"The SCRA's benefits and protections include a six-percent interest rate cap on pre-service obligations such as credit cards, student loans, vehicle loans and mortgages," said Darden.
For assistance or more information regarding SCRA, contact the nearest Legal Assistance Office to see if the SCRA applies. Dependents of service members can also contact or visit their local military legal assistance offices where they reside.
For more than 70 years, with the last two decades at Naval Air Station Pensacola, NATTC has been providing training and increasing readiness within the Naval Aviation Enterprise. The facility graduates approximately 23,000 Navy, Marine Corps and international students annually and is part of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT), an organization which provides single-site management for Navy and Marine Corps aviation technical training.
CNATT is the technical training agent for the Naval Aviation Enterprise, an organization designed to advance and sustain naval aviation warfighting capabilities at an affordable cost, and is the largest training center under Naval Education and Training Command.
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