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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | October 2007 

ARMY: 50,000+ Discharged as Unfit for Duty After War Service
email this pageprint this pageemail usDavid Lord - PVNN


I ended last week's article by saying I would continue this week with an explanation of the underhanded expedient dismissal of our service-wounded Veterans. How they are being removed from the Military by the so called "seamless transition" back into civilian life. The men and women that have been wounded in War so gravely as to render them Unfit for Duty.

I thought of my experience almost forty years ago in the U.S. Navy Hospital at Great Lakes, where thousands of wounded were being shoved into V.A. Hospitals, (a good movie to watch on the V.A. hospitals back then is Born on the Fourth of July) which nowadays is a thing of the past, thank God.

I was placed on the T.D.R.L. (Temporary Disabled Retired List) while my wounds healed. In my case, I suffered five years of healing with medical exams occurring every six months to determine my medical fitness for duty.

Finally being discharged on a Medical Retirement, I gained all the benefits that would be afforded as if I had spent a career of twenty years in service. I was very fortunate, just one in a thousand were given retirement for wounds back then.

I was able to recover from the gun shot rather than have the amputation for which I was being put out of the Marine Corps. Now as I look at what is being done by the Military Review Boards, I want to state that THIS IS WRONG.

We citizens of the U.S.A. have the obligation to protest this outrage being committed on service men and women (now disabled) who will suffer a lifetime for this Iraqi fiasco. Remember, they can never forget or walk away, long after we Americans have put it out of their minds, they will continue paying day after day.

The Commission published findings in a report called Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans' Disability Benefits in the 21st Century, and in my opinion, it was set up to review and control spending on U.S. Veterans benefits. If made into law, the Commission's suggestions will cut some Veterans benefits, particularly the "Individual Unemployables" and the "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" benefits.

The Disability Evaluation System (DES) is the process by which each of the Military branches determines whether or not a service member is fit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank, or rating because of disease or injury.

The process begins with a medical evaluation board (MEB) that reviews the service member's impairment and makes a determination of fitness for duty. If the service member is not returned to duty, the process continues with a physical evaluation board (PEB).

The Bush administration is very concerned that they not appear to reduce Veterans benefits for those they have repeatedly put in harms way - it would hurt future recruiting. The Folly War, where billions of dollars are turning into trillions of dollars totally wasted on Arab populations, which have been decimated by war and are impatient for our demise and imminent departure.

Iraqi's are crying for their losses, and yet laughing at us throwing money into reconstruction of infrastructure while the power struggle by religious fanatics for future oil profits continues.

To add to the misery of this Fiasco, at home we take compensation benefits from the very men and women that we sent in to fight this Fiasco of a War. The expendable Patriot is a new twist in this bizarre war, one we should hold so dear is made to suffer a lifetime of abuse by the reduction of disability ratings which reduce not only income, but the quality of life itself. These torn up Patriots feel it inside and out, they must wonder who cares... I do.

The Commission has opened a Pandora's Box about Military Review Boards, their study exposing the Military's disregard and the harsh dismissal of our wounded Patriots. Just one branch of Service, the Army, contained data on 50,676 service members who were found unfit for duty - yet 13,646 records (27%) were assigned zero percent ratings. The zero percent ratings, when matched with VA records, show the average VA disability rating was 56% for those with 20 or more years of service - and the average was 28% for those with less than 20 years of service.

It is sad that the Commission's well-intentioned explanations are useless for those Patriots dismissed from their service to Country, only to become the maybe homeless, maybe divorced, certainly miserable and mostly alone, not a hero, or a respected Patriot. And in some cases, feeling like a bum, a loser, or even worse, Disposable.
David Lord served in Vietnam as combat Marine for 1st Battalion 26th Marines, during which time he was severely wounded. He received the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation for his actions during the war in Vietnam. In Mexico, David now represents all veterans south of the U.S. border all the way to Panama, before the V.A. and the Board of Veterans Appeals. David Lord provides service to veterans at no fee. Veterans are welcome to drop in and discuss claims/benefits to which they are entitled by law at his office located at Bayside Properties, 160 Francisca Rodriguez, tel.: 223-4424, call him at home 299-5367, on his cell: 044 (322) 205-1323, or email him at david.lord@yahoo.com.

Click HERE for more Veteran Affairs with David Lord »»»



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