Thursday, October 06, 2011

More from a Sailor Veteran of the Vietnam War

We have heard more from John Morrow. Here is some excellent advice from him on filing claims with the DVA:

I dug through old records today to find the office in Washington, DC that shipped ship's official logs to me from the USS Fort Marion LSD 22. Here is the address.

[VNVets note: Navy ship Deck Logs are held at the Modern Military Branch of the National Archives, Adelphi, Maryland. That would be the first stop for any Blue Water Sailor. This office below does not maintain records, but instead they go where the records are and research.]

Director
Department of the Army
U.S. Army Joint Services Records Research Center
7701 Telegraph Road
Kingman Building, Room 2C08
Alexandria, VA 22315

The Director was kind enough to send me a very specific letter on his letterhead and state that I was where I said was on a specific date (the date of my "stressor" for PTSD and a day that I have relived many, many times). This letter clearly carried weight with my reviewer at the DVA because it had government stationary, real places and dates and lists of other commands affected (US Navy groups in Danang and USMC combat marine commands).

I do not know if this address and contact will help efforts for vets to make progress on their claims but I hope so.

The REAL message to individuals is, in my opinion, to:

  • Carry their OWN torch.
  • Do their OWN research. You do not get something for nothing.
  • Do not make up ANYTHING because they think they should get VA Disability Checks like a buddy of theirs.
  • If you were not "in the shit" do not pretend you were!
  • You must learn the ropes of carrying your OWN claim forward (there is no magic or superman to do the work for you (service advocates only "file" your claim...they do not research and substantiate it. That is YOUR job).
  • Lying in your filings is a FEDERAL offense -- do not do it!
  • Make LOTS of phone calls or personal calls to people in the right offices and departments. That's LOTS of phone calls. Each person they talk to can be a pointer to a better resource OR be THE person to give you some progress.
  • People will HELP you. Do not take advantage of them and do not stretch any truths to them.
I do remember that ships logs can be retrieved in person. That means you go to the right facility in Washington, get the actual documents and do the copying yourself in their office. Otherwise you pay a buck or two per page and have to wait your turn (months) for some clerk to do the copying for you. If your claim is important enough to you then go there, or have a friend who can, go there. You can get all the real details of accomplishing record retrieval from the people in DC and then you "do it". It is not your right that this will be done for you. The gentleman I got this letter from explained all this to me and then he volunteered to actually do this stuff for me...incredible. I was more than impressed with his feelings for a veteran even though he had never served. He felt he wanted to do something himself for a guy that had served.

Too many vets are waiting for the whole thing to just change...don't we all wish! Again, I hope some piece of this can be used productively. I believe in us veterans and wish to help in my own little way if possible.
You have indeed, John. Thank you again.

Good advice folks.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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4 comments:

  1. Joe Auriemma, VNVET, DDG-24 USS WADDELL, STATIONED IN TONKIN GULF, COAST DA NANG & THE DMZ. HAVE HAD HEARING PROBLEMS & STOMACH ISSUES SINCE DISCHARGE. BELIEVE INTESTINAL ISSUES ARE FROM AGENT ORANGE, CAN NOT PROVE THIS.
    WAS ASHAMED OF MY SERVICE UPON RETURNING HOME,AS PEOPLE WERE SPITTING ON VETERANS & SAW US AS BABY KILLERS ETC.GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND PROUD TO HAVE SERVED WITH YOU.
    SINCERELY,
    JOE AURIEMMA

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  2. bob hoffman11:36

    I was stationed with Joe on the Waddell in 66 an 67 our ship is on the VA's presumptive list of ships exposed to agent orange, while up the Saigon and Cue Vuet rivers as well as being anchored in Da Nang harbor on numerous occasions In 84 and 86 I had two Ischemic heart attacks,shortly thereafter I had 16ft of my large intestines removed because of Ischemic Bowel. But the VA either doesn't know what that is or will not recognize the fact that one is the result of the other. I also have had my prostate removed due to prostate cancer with consistent high PSA results since I was in the Navy. Its been a year since I filed my claim for SMC and they still tell me the same thing. they are trying to figure out what they owe me. And they won't tell me what my SMC rating is. Everything has been done with the claim except them paying up. Meanwhile my medical bills
    continue to come in. So I know what Joe is going through. Good Luck Joe from Bob Hoffman.

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  3. Anonymous22:25

    Mr bush slapped all vietnam bluewaterveterans in his first and second terms.we the people need to slap them in the way they have brutilized us. Bush never put his life on the line. I am still trying to get deck logs but they still havent been declassified after 37 yeaars why? Maybe it thee types of armorment we had on board

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  4. I would point out to you that they Legal precedent for the removal of the BWN from Presumptive Eligibility was written by the DVA Office of the General Counsel in 1997.

    Here is a link to copy and paste into your address bar that explains it:

    http://vnvets.blogspot.com/2007/06/basis-for-blue-water-navy-ban.html

    I would remind you that was in the second term of Bill Clinton.

    Don't get caught up in the political game, there are enemies of Veterans in both parties.

    ReplyDelete