For Matt Colvin, the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, had a profound impact on his view of himself, his country and his career. He joined the Air Force that afternoon.
"That just really set me on a course for a quick indoctrination of the military. I had already known that's where I had wanted to go, but it just solidified my path," he said.
Colvin rose to the rank of staff sergeant during his six years of military service. After returning to civilian life, like many veterans, he went to college.
"Without the GI Bill, I never would have been able to take advantage of college because I would have had to take out the loans," Colvin said. "I'd be in the same predicament as many other people with looming debt."
While many service members and their families know the GI Bill will help pay for college, there are a host of other benefits that may not be on their radar.