How I Won My Award

In 1966, I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman attached to the 3rd Marine Division. More specifically, I was at Charlie-Med,, 3rd Med Bn, outside Danang, as the Air Evac Petty Officer. I was the one responsible for evacuating all the wounded Marines out of country. On three separate occasions, The helicopter that I was on, got shot-up. I knew at the time, that one day I would lose my hearing, due to this. Over the years, the hearing got worse and worse. I finally went to the VA with the idea that they would give me hearing aids. Notice that I said "give"--because this happened in Vietnam. Yeah, right! They were charging me for each visit, and were going to charge me for the hearing aids. I got mad and told myself "OK, if they want to play games, I can play their game. I will file a claim for a disability". I filed the claim. The VA came back and basically said in their letter--"We have to deny your claim because you did not furnish us with your family income or your monthly income". Now I was really mad. I thought "How can they relate a medical condition to income?” It just happened that the man who was my Congressman at the time had been a friend back in high school. I called him and said "I want to put the VA out of business". He asked what was going on. I read the letter to him. He asked "They actually put that on paper?” Then he told me to fax a copy to his office. It took almost another year, but we got the disability. I learned in the process that the VA automatically turns down almost all claims that they receive. They want you to go away, and many guys do. That is the wrong move. You have to stay on them.

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