The American Legion Post 501 of Madison, WI—the History of the Wisconsin G.I. Bill According to Airman Mautz

Madison, WI Post 501 of the American Legion February Meeting

By Bradley J. Burt 

4 February 2019– At 1900 hours, the Post 501 Meeting was called to order by Commander Tom Stolarczyk.

Call to Order:

Prior to the start of the meeting, I met with previous State Commander ’75-’76 Bud A. Mautz. I am a student at Madison College, along with being a Post 501 member who is pursuing a Journalism Certificate and am a UW Liberal Arts Transfer Student.  My passion is to write blogs for therapy and am using the Wisconsin G.I. Bill to supplement my income while I return to school. I am grateful for the efforts of our past state commander and am paying blog journalism forward to spread the great news you are never too old to return to school.

My mission as an intern is to investigate through interviews to discover veterans who are the difference makers in Wisconsin. Bud Mautz and his work with the Wisconsin G.I. Bill, its history, along with reporting to the post as a member cultivates my ability to write and motivates my sense of duty to stay the course as a college student. I transferred to Post 501 in November of 2018.  I met a fine gentleman by the name of Bud my first time visiting Post 501. Once I finished filling out my transfer, Bud revealed to me his past accomplishment during the Senator Doyle era, who shared the story of the Wisconsin G.I. Bill. As a benefactor of his efforts I was immediately enlightened by a divine calling. The Wisconsin G.I. Bill allows our State to fund veterans with 100% college tuition who return to school once they exhaust their federal G.I. Bill.  Bud is a true American Legion hero.  His work is saving my life in a time of uncertainty.  This is his version of the story.

The History of the Wisconsin G.I. Bill assembled a committee, who extended an invitation to Post 501 of the American Legion, to meet to discuss tuition grants for veterans. Air Force Korea Era Veteran Bud A. Mautz was nominated who graciously accepted the invitation. A committee through the State of Wisconsin was assembled where Airman Mautz advocated as past State Commander in favor of stimulating veteran education, who has a background as a member of the MATC Alumni of the auto mechanic industry, who completed his Edsel automotive apprenticeship.  Bud was one of the first auto apprenticeship students at Madison College. 

The negotiating of the Wisconsin G.I. Bill was through UW Madison Alumni Council, which happened during the Governor Doyle era. Mautz made clear during our interview “two female UW Board Scholars protested helping veterans on the grounds that the military was all men.” Bud announced to the panel that the military at the time was 18% women, who would also benefit. Mautz indicated he acted on what he thought was right at the time. He wanted to see all who enter service in Wisconsin reap the benefit of free tuition.

Food for Thought:

When our elders advocate for education our future generations become the benefactors of strong veteran minds who share their experience and attention to detail in the workplace. Strong leaders build strong Legionnaires. Sometimes our efforts as veterans to advocate for benefits are unclear to those who invest in the future of veterans. Airman Mautz dedicated his knowledge and expertise to the preservation of academia through staying the course during the argument by standing up to the UW Board women who sought to turn down Mautz’s efforts to lead the charge. I can’t imagine where I would be right now had he given up the fight.

Madison College UW Madison Liberal Arts Transfer Program is available to veterans to explore options through the VA VITAL program after seeking treatment at Building 22 at the Madison VA Hospital. Outpost 422 is here to help you with your transition.

The Rewards of American Legion Membership:

We as Legionnaires win the argument when we perpetuate Americanism demonstrated by Past Department Commander Bud A. Mautz.  I certainly hope to follow in his footsteps as I march forward to advocate for disabled veterans in Washington D.C. when I finish my Political Science-Journalism degree.

I had a great meeting at Post 501 that night. Education keeps veterans like me in the fight and can pick you up too. American Legion Post 501 of Madison, WI is a hard working post who hosts great leaders who are willing to help you find your way through transition. We never leave our wounded behind. We invite you to join our mission and hope you will come to our club to meet the great advocates like Mautz who are the gears that turn the engine of our post. We have many great stories and a beautiful facility with an open door and a handshake to welcome you home. We are your American Legion. If you are newly transitioning or visiting the Madison, WI area, do not hesitate to reach out anytime. We are here to serve you.

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