Never Give Up Fighting for Your Rights
By Winston Goodson
Initial Publication Date: February 1, 2016
Republished: March 30, 2018
When I came down on orders for Korea, I was stationed at Fort Drum, New York. I was told since I hadn’t had a physical since my initial enlistment into the military, I would have to have a physical before I could re-enlist and accept the assignment. Needless to say, the first portion of the physical was blood pressure and pulse and I was told I could not pass the physical with a heart rate of 98. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome by a Civilian Cardiologist and was placed before the Medical Review Board, because I was not worldwide deployable. The board indicated in order for me to receive a discharge for a Heart Condition I would have to prove that I have had a Heart Attack, so I was discharged three years short of retirement with Asthma and was given a 10% Disability. Once I was evaluated by the Veterans Administration, my disability was increased to 30%; however I was told, I had to give up my Civilian Employment, because I had an enlarged Aorta and if I continued to work I would die in the effort. I refused to leave the Cardiologist Office before he put these instructions in writing.
I took my Review Board paperwork, my Veterans Administration paperwork; my Medical Records and the Veterans Disability requirements and I sat in front of my computer and wrote everything down in chronological order from my Medical Records that corresponded to the disability requirements percentages from the Veterans Administration. I printed out my findings and made an appointment with the Chairman of the Armed Service Committee. I laid out my findings to him and he agreed to represent my issue with the Veterans Administration. It took me five years of letter writing and the Veterans Administration refused to back pay me, but in 1993, I was awarded 100% Disability.
It bothers me to read stories of Veterans settling with their initial disability rating from the military or the Veterans Administration when all they need is to write for the rights they deserve.