By Amie Parnes and Jeremy Herb - 04/27/12 05:40 PM EDT
President Obama signed an executive order Friday that will offer protections to veterans against colleges attempting to “swindle and hoodwink” and engage in deceptive marketing practices.
Speaking to a large crowd soldiers at Fort Stewart in Georgia, with first lady Michelle Obama at his side, Obama signed the order, which seeks to prevent colleges from taking advantage of veterans who received military education benefits.
“That’s appalling,” Obama said. “That’s disgraceful. That should never happen in America.
“They're trying to swindle and hoodwink you,” he continued. “And today at Ft. Stewart, we're going to put an end to it."
The order would instruct the Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark the term “GI Bill” so that external websites are not fraudulently marketing educational services and benefits. It would also require the Pentagon to set rules for how schools are granted access to military bases to recruit students.
In a brief speech, both Obamas committed to standing by the troops as they leave the battlefield and return home.
“Three years ago, I made your generation a promise. I said that when your tour comes to an end ... you’ll be coming home to an America that will forever fight for you. Just as you fought for us,” Obama said.
He touted the troops, whom he called the “9/11 generation” for writing one of the greatest chapters of military service that America has ever seen.
“History will remember what you did. And so will we. We will remember the profound sacrifices that you've made in these wars,” he said.