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Creator of Montgomery GI Bill Dies: Former Congressman Gillespie V. “Sonny” Montgomery, 85, died Friday in Meridian, Miss., following a long illness. Montgomery, who spent 35 years in active and National Guard service, was known as a premier champion of veterans. Chief proponent of the 1987 legislation that expanded education and training benefits for veterans and that boosted recruiting in the all-volunteer force, Montgomery had served in both World War II and the Korean War and retired from the Guard as a major general. The life-long Democrat was first elected to Congress in 1966 and served 15 terms. Among his many awards are the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented last year, and his name on a Mississippi Air National Guard C-17 airlifter, the “Spirit of Sonny Montgomery.”