HomeNewsArticle Display

Article Display

Airmen missing chance on low-cost car tags

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Military members and retirees in Arkansas are missing out on an inexpensive way to put a license plate on their vehicle and show their patriotism, according to one state official. 

Low-cost Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom license plates have been an option for service members since the state legislature passed a law allowing them in 2005. But sales of the plates have been slow; perhaps because military members just aren't aware they exist, said Roger Duren, the state's administrator of motor vehicles. 

"We don't have a marketing section," he said. "We've never done that on any of the special plates." 

As of July 31, the state has issued 985 Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran plates and 124 Operation Enduring Freedom plates. In contrast, the Arkansas National Guard has deployed about 8,500 service members and Little Rock Air Force Base has deployed about 5,200 Airmen since Sept. 11, 2001, some of which have been on multiple deployments. Those numbers don't include Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve or Navy Reserve members from the state who have deployed. 

Veteran plates - World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom - cost $4.75 when they are initially issued and are $1 to renew. The normal cost of putting a plate on an auto or renewing each year is around $25. 

Armed forces members will need their current registration, proof of insurance and a copy of their DD 214, showing proof of eligibility for the applicable car tag they want. 

Active duty members in Central Arkansas who don't have a DD 214 can take a letter on official letterhead from their commander to the central revenue office at 1900 West 7th Street in Little Rock that verifies the member served honorably during the period deployed to the Iraq area of operations or Afghanistan area of operations. 

Service members who receive the Purple Heart Medal for wounds in a war zone are eligible for a special plate. The Purple Heart - Combat Wounded plate is issued to "an Arkansas resident who has been awarded the Purple Heart Medal while serving in the U.S. Armed forces, or a resident who is the unmarried surviving spouse of a Purple Heart recipient," according to the state's Web site. The initial plate is free, but if one must be re-issued, it will cost $3.75. 

To apply for a veteran plate, service members and retirees in Central Arkansas will have to go to the central revenue office in Little Rock. Those who live outside of Central Arkansas should check with their local revenue office for the closest location. 

More veteran plates and information about those plates is available on the Web at http://www.arkansas.gov/dfa/motor_vehicle/mv_plates_categories.php?category=Military.