RI Veterans: Did you know? 15 July 21 – John A. Cianci

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer,  Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Eligible Veterans Can Use GI Bill While on Job Training at Law Enforcement / Fire Academies

Veterans Benefits…. Did you know?

Did you know the Rhode Island State Police, Rhode Island Department of Corrections Training Academy, Warren and Pawtucket Police department, along with many other local police departments are approved VA on-job-training employers?

Simply put, an eligible veteran can use his or her GI Bill and collect an estimated $2100 a month TAX-FREE while attending the academy and on probations—-in addition to the salary the local department is paying.

Did you know the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy has two veterans currently using their GI Bill: receiving TAXFREE $2,076 a month housing stipend, and a $1,000 a month book and uniform allowance, etc.

Many young men and women join the military with a goal of having a career in law enforcement. The Rhode Island National Guard offers an opportunity to start a law enforcement career as a Military Police; receiving the same training active-duty soldiers would receive, however, after completion of the training, they return and serve as a citizen soldier in one of the Military Police units in Rhode Island.

Newly trained Military Police are a marketable commodity for many civilian positions due to the skills he or she has received as a Military Police officer, despite their young age – often landing employment with opportunities to advancement.

More often than not, a veteran has a non-law enforcement job after returning, and the job provides adequate pay to support themselves. However, let’s recall, the soldier or veteran joined the military as a jumpstart of a career in law enforcement.

The opportunity arises for possible employment as a public servant. However, the veteran can-not afford to take a potential pay cut to attend the academy and the initial starting salary. Many veterans make their decision based on their financial situation; he or she cannot afford to take a pay cut to attend an academy.

If the Veteran is eligible for the GI Bill, he or she has options to use their GI Bill at a VA approved employer. For example, the Warren Police Department has an already approved on-the job-training program with the VA. The program can provide a bridge of thousands of dollars, up to 24 months.

In the months 1-6 the Veteran would receive a TAXFREE $1995 housing stipend a month and $83 a month allowance for books, uniforms, gun, etc.… along with the salary the Veteran is earning.

After the 6 months:

  • Months 7-12: $1,596 per month
  • Months 13 through 18; Months 13-18: $1,197 per month
  • Months 19 through 24; Months 19-24: $798 per month

Book stipend

Months 7 through 12; Months 7-12: $83 per month

Months 13 through 18; Months 13-18: $83 per month

  • Months 19 through 24; Months 19-24: $83per month

Other approved Rhode Island Law Enforcement agencies are:

Pawtucket Police Department – $2076 a month housing stipend, $1000 allowance books, uniforms, etc.

Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy, Lincoln RI – Tuition 100% in-state, Housing $2076, $1000 allowance books, uniforms, etc.

Rhode Island Deputy Sheriffs Training Academy, Cranston RI – $2076 a month housing stipend, $1000 allowance books, uniforms, etc.

Rhode Island Department of Corrections Training Academy, Cranston RI – $2076 a month housing stipend, $1000 allowance books, uniforms, etc.

D W Wyatt Detention Center, Central Fall, RI – $2076 a month housing stipend, $1000 allowance books, uniforms, etc.

Rhode Island State Fire Academy, Exeter RI – Tuition 100% in state, Housing $2076, $1000 allowance books, uniforms, etc.

NAVSTA Newport Rhode Island Fire Department – $1995 a month housing stipend, $1000 allowance books, uniforms, etc.

Local police and fire departments are recruiting for upcoming academies, members of our National Guard, and Army Reserve. Veterans are highly skilled and trained already in many of the challenges a new public servant would face. Don’t let the initial salary cloud your decision of a dream you could have had since a child and prior to joining the military—verify you are eligible for the GI bill and contact the VA to use your GI bill at one of the aforementioned approved academies.

VETTIP: (I am sure others are approved, and if need be, any department can easily get approved within a week or two. The Italian America War Veterans Service officer is available to assist any veteran or local department to ensure the opportunity to use their GI Bill is available and process in a timely fashion; the process should not take more than 30 days.

Some of America’s best are awaiting to continue their public service in law enforcement, let’s ensure their decision is not restricted by limited starting salary for the academy and initial probation period after the academy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 Am eligible for the GI Bill?

Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) – Am I eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) benefits?

You may be eligible for education benefits if you meet at least one of the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true. You:

  • Served at least 90 days on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, or
  • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
  • Served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability, or
  • Is a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying Veteran or service member?

Q2 How do I apply?

  1. Apply online,
  2. Apply by mail: Call 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET, to request that the application be sent to you. Fill it out and mail it to the VA regional claims processing office. If the academy is in Rhode Island, mail to: Regional Processing Office, P.O. Box 4616, Buffalo, NY, 14240-4616

VETTIP: Make a copy of everything you will mail. I also recommend mail United States Postal Service Priority Mail, and staple proof of mailing to the front copy of the application for your file. It’s well worth one’s sanity to verify the processing center has received your application. Moreover, proof could be worth thousands of dollars you applied for, if the delay was on the VA processing center.

  • Apply in person: Providence Regional Office, 380 Westminster St, Providence RI 02903, 800-827-1000

VETTIP: Bring your DD214 and a government approved identification.

  • Go to your account.

If you are registered with, you can generate a VA letter supporting your educational benefits.

If you not registered, enroll in

  1. Go to and locate “Register” in the upper right corner and CLICK.
  2. Select your registration method and provide the information to complete the registration process.
  3. Answer the security questions to verify your identity within the time allowed.

Q3 What happens after you apply for education benefits?

You can get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) or an award letter in the mail if the VA approved your application.

VETTIP: If you think your eligible—-apply. Apply even if you might just be considering using your GI bill. The COE does not expire as long as you are eligible for the GI Bill..

Q4 How long does it take VA to make a decision?

30 days is the average time to process education claims


FREE GOLF every Wednesday, Buttonhole, Providence RI, 12:00-3:00pm Veterans, Active Military, and National Guard, can use the range or play 9 holes of golf at no charge. Simply sign-in at the Pro-Shop on Wednesday from noon to 3:00PM. For more information, contact Don Wright, 401-421-1664 email

FREE Thursday Golf Clinics, Buttonhole, Providence RI, for all Veterans and immediate family. June thru October from 5:00-7:00pm. The golf clinics are open to all levels of experience. Equipment use is free. One ParaMobile golf cart is available. For more information, contact Don Wright, 401-421-1664 email


August 6th, 2021, Friday, 11:00AM, “Rhode Island National Guard Summer Reunion”, Quonset Officers’ Club, 200 Lieutenant James Brown Road, North Kingstown.  Point of contact is Bob Antonelli at 401.996.3764, or via email at  Cut-off date is Tuesday, August 3rd

August 28, 2021, Saturday 4:00PM, “Salute to Summer Free Concert & Fireworks Show”, Naval Station Newport, 690 Pearry St., Newport, RI. Naval Station Newport MWR will be hosting a “Salute to Summer” free concert and fireworks show on Saturday, August 28th at Naval Station Newport. This event is open to active-duty personnel, retirees, reservists, eligible family members, DoD civilians and contractors with base access and the general public.

It will feature performances by local bands and Navy Band Northeast. There will be activities for children and food vendors on site for the purchase of snacks, meals and beverages. A fireworks display is scheduled to begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.  Please Note: Event entry will begin at 2 p.m. for patrons with base access. Event is open to the public.  

September 15-20, 2021, USMC Tankers Association Facility: Crown Plaza Providence-Warwick, 801 Greenwich Ave., Warwick RI 02886. Point of Contact: John Wear. Telephone: 719-495-5998. Point of Contact Email: Comments: The USMC Vietnam Tankers Association will be holding our 12th biennial reunion. Anyone who served with any of the Marine tank battalions or Ontos units in Vietnam – in any capacity – are welcome!

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci,


John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.