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 Post subject: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:27 pm 
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Recruit

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:21 pm
Posts: 7
Your Gulf War Unit: 3rd ACR Support Squadron HHT
While serving with 3rd ACR Support Squadron in Desert Storm I had some very unusual conditions that dictated my encounters with the realities of war. Those events and my witness have forever changed me, as so many other vets. However, when I got out in 93, I made a claim to the VA. I was young and stupid. I didn't know about all the Vet support services out there and I was summarily denied claims for PTSD and a host of other items.
In 2007 I got someone to represent me and THAT got denied too. I was destitute and pretty much gave up on pursuing the claim. I was told that there was no evidence to support my combat claims.
Well those very unusual conditions I mentioned are haunting me. I was tasked with a small group to take my tank and several captured vehicles out of Iraq. We were separated from our main force and not a working radio between all of us (at least that I knew of). How the hell am I supposed to provide evidence of something that wasn't reported?
Its so frustrating to have to dig back into the war file of my mind and regurgitate everything just to be told "tough cookies".

I just started to get evaluated by a VA psych (first time by the VA for psych, but regular outpatient care there) to possibly reopen the case (the mental wounds too) but I'm looking for advice from others who have been down this path before.
Can anyone suggest anything for someone who gave up and wants to restart the fight?


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:40 am 
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Good Soldiers Never Die
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:36 pm
Posts: 1009
Location: North Carolina
Your Gulf War Unit: 24th Infantry Division, 197th Infantry Brigage, 72 Engr Co.
Get a VSO. Find some buddies and get some buddy letters. Find your units AAR. Any awards that have that mentioned in there. You will have to specify as to what trauma caused your issues probably. You'll need to write a jam up self report or stressor letter. Get letters from family who knew you before and after. Get letters from friends and co-workers. Make sure your doc specifies that you have PTSD from combat which is called a nexus statement. Get any medical records or evidence all the way back to desert storm. And don't give up. Welcome home bro.

_________________
Shield/Storm
18th Airborne Corps
24th Infantry Division
197th Infantry 72 ENGR CO
Assault and Barrier Pltn
"Sledgehammer"


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:24 am 
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Recruit

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:21 pm
Posts: 7
Your Gulf War Unit: 3rd ACR Support Squadron HHT
I can hardly believe it. Ive found my Desert Storm C.O. online and emailed him to confirm it is him. It is. He gave me his phone number and said he is still in contact with a few of the others in my unit.
Unfortunately the only action I was a combatant was an isolated incident and my C.O wasn't informed of the section level contact (thanks to a young buck sgt. who didnt make an AAR). I didnt recieve any medals (other than campaign and liberation) for any actions. As we weren't technically a combatant section, and I wasn't a combat MOS I got the shaft on the claim. Even though I was stuck in a TOC tank with no tank training.
The guys I was with only cared about getting the hell out of country. The destruction and dead enemy littering the battlefield has plagued me for 20 years and I have felt helpless against the images stuck in my head. Seeing all that death and being in total fear of dying screwed me up. I feel like Im the only one that was so profoundly changed by what seems to be a minor footnote in everyone elses lives who saw all that. With great trepidation I admit I will be judged a wussy and to suck it up. The fear didnt take a hold of me till I had time to process what the hell happened. But it still grips me.
Am I alone?
Ive just secured the assistance of a VSO that apparently is very good. I have only talked to him once but I will have more contact with him on this case.


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:29 am 
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Good Soldiers Never Die
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:36 pm
Posts: 1009
Location: North Carolina
Your Gulf War Unit: 24th Infantry Division, 197th Infantry Brigage, 72 Engr Co.
You are not alone bro. PTSD is PTSD. It does not matter how you got it. It does not matter what your MOS was. It does not matter how much or how little you saw or were involved in. Remember bro you have got to have:

1. PTSD diagnosis or MDD

2. Nexus statement

After that, get everybody you can from your unit to write a statement about what they saw and how they felt. You write a letter. In your letter tell how you felt before, during and after the war. Get your VSO to file everything. Get all your records from all the other places you've been seen. Get family letters. Go find your denial letters from the VA. They will tell you exactly why they denied you.

Last, you ain't alone brother. We have been there. No judgment here. Just a community of brotherhood looking out for one another.

_________________
Shield/Storm
18th Airborne Corps
24th Infantry Division
197th Infantry 72 ENGR CO
Assault and Barrier Pltn
"Sledgehammer"


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:04 am 
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Vet
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:44 pm
Posts: 101
Location: Virginia
Your Gulf War Unit: 24th INF 197th 72 Engineers/18th Airborne Corps
YEA YOU ARE NOT ALONE ,NO JUDGEMENT ON THIS END AND LISTEN TO THE FISH HE GAVE YA SOME GOOD ADVICE, THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO THERE REDFISH !

_________________
DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM
197TH/72 ENGINEERS/24TH INF. DIV.


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:45 pm 
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Good Soldiers Never Die
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:35 pm
Posts: 1899
Location: Central Florida
Your Gulf War Unit: 2nd Brigade 1st Infantry Division
DO NOT GIVE UP. IF nothing else, definitely get registered with VA Mental Health and start seeing someone. Start going to group. After 20 years the VA finally gave me 70% for Depression in leiu of a lesser % for PTSD. I am happy with that for now. If and when they take my 70% away then I will fight again for the PTSD that they do acknowledge. DO NOT GIVE UP.

I say again:
DO NOT GIVE UP
DO NOT GIVE UP
DO NOT GIVE UP
DO NOT GIVE UP
DO NOT GIVE UP


Continue Mission,
Dagger X-Ray OUT

_________________
Dagger X-Ray - ARMY
(12/91 - present) - miss the service
(9/90 - 12/91) 2nd Bde 1st Infantry Division - Desert Shield / Desert Storm Combat VET
(9/88 - 9/90) C-17th Signal Battalion of 22nd Signal Brigade - Sachsenhausen Bar Scene VET
(4/88 - 9/88) AIT Fort Gordon, Ga
(12/87 - 3/88) Basic Training Fort Jackson, SC

"People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
-George Orwell

"I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight."
- General George Patton


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:01 am 
Offline
Recruit

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:21 pm
Posts: 7
Your Gulf War Unit: 3rd ACR Support Squadron HHT
Thanks for the encouragement.

Talked to the Vet Rep officer again with more detail of my previous attempts. He thinks I have a solid case and I just need to get my C.O. to write a letter to clear up 2 of the 3 reasons I was denied.

I have been hesitant to contact my old C.O. on the phone. I think its because Im avoiding the memories.

Well, hopefully I get the letter and with any luck the C.U.E to push this claim back into the light.
Wish me luck.


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:58 pm 
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Recruit

Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:24 pm
Posts: 2
Your Gulf War Unit: 4th/3rd ACR (Cobra CC)
BOTum wrote:
While serving with 3rd ACR Support Squadron in Desert Storm I had some very unusual conditions that dictated my encounters with the realities of war. Those events and my witness have forever changed me, as so many other vets. However, when I got out in 93, I made a claim to the VA. I was young and stupid. I didn't know about all the Vet support services out there and I was summarily denied claims for PTSD and a host of other items.
In 2007 I got someone to represent me and THAT got denied too. I was destitute and pretty much gave up on pursuing the claim. I was told that there was no evidence to support my combat claims.
Well those very unusual conditions I mentioned are haunting me. I was tasked with a small group to take my tank and several captured vehicles out of Iraq. We were separated from our main force and not a working radio between all of us (at least that I knew of). How the hell am I supposed to provide evidence of something that wasn't reported?
Its so frustrating to have to dig back into the war file of my mind and regurgitate everything just to be told "tough cookies".

I just started to get evaluated by a VA psych (first time by the VA for psych, but regular outpatient care there) to possibly reopen the case (the mental wounds too) but I'm looking for advice from others who have been down this path before.
Can anyone suggest anything for someone who gave up and wants to restart the fight?


Keep fighting as long as possible if it is important. I can identify as I was not with my unit for about 6 weeks and most of what happened was during that period so the AAR was completely useless. I was on a security detail that was not any official unit so there was no AAR to look for.

Here is the truly ball breaking event. Back in 1996 I got a letter from the VA suggesting I go to the hospital to be examined for GWS. After the positive diagnosis and filling out more paperwork I received another letter stating I qualified for disability and needed to fill out the forms if I accepted the terms. I knew absolutely nothing about how this worked so I called the 800 number on the letter and the person I spoke with explained it was like a settlement for a car accident. I specifically asked if I accepted the ten percent did that mean that is all I would be entitled to no matter what happened and he said yes. The ten percent would be the ceiling regardless of how sick I got so he said unless I was experiencing debilitating symptoms I should wait because I would get a higher level of disability if it got worse. So I turned down the ten percent.

In 2001 the symptoms were getting worse so I went back to the VA. I got rejected for everything. I had a psychiatrist verify some of the symptoms and to state I had been in counseling for over 2 years but the VA wanted the AAR to provide the strongest evidence......after I already explained in my claim the AAR was irrelevant since I was not with my unit.

Now my liver is failing. I've given up on the VA but I hope you and others maintain the commitment I was unable to find. One of the reasons is being unable to reconcile the public bumper sticker cheers of "Support our troops" with the obscene level of apathy towards Vets by the general public. The main reason all Vets have a difficult adventure in the VA system is due to lack of public support. There are countless awesome people within the VA system who truly care about Vets but are given inadequate resources and tools so they do the best they can, like an auto mechanic being given a toothbrush to install a new engine.

Keep fighting for yourself and idiots like me.


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:59 am 
Offline
Recruit

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:21 pm
Posts: 7
Your Gulf War Unit: 3rd ACR Support Squadron HHT
I just spoke to my old C.O. on the phone. I was nervous as I wasnt sure if he would remember me or even help. I stammered and "umm"ed alot but eventually we had a conversation. Turns out he remembers me and the tank I was in. He is not only going to work with me on the letter to the VA confirming (what he can) for my claims, he also has photos of some of the horrific stuff our unit encountered and will be providing them to me. I dont know if photos do anything for a claim. Any advice?

Anyhow, he empathizes with what we went through and admitted he had to go through some counseling too for it. He said he made 2 more Iraq tours (for Op Iraqi Freedom) and one for Kosovo and he said those weren't as intense as Desert Storm.

Im nearly in tears. I feel validated that he understands what I have been struggling with over the last 21 years. Now its time to tackle the paperwork (the letter and the ..."nexus" is it?). My VSO thinks that the letter will make this much easier for my case.


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 Post subject: Re: I shouldnt have given up.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:02 pm 
Offline
Recruit

Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:24 pm
Posts: 2
Your Gulf War Unit: 4th/3rd ACR (Cobra CC)
BOTum wrote:
I just spoke to my old C.O. on the phone. I was nervous as I wasnt sure if he would remember me or even help. I stammered and "umm"ed alot but eventually we had a conversation. Turns out he remembers me and the tank I was in. He is not only going to work with me on the letter to the VA confirming (what he can) for my claims, he also has photos of some of the horrific stuff our unit encountered and will be providing them to me. I dont know if photos do anything for a claim. Any advice?

Anyhow, he empathizes with what we went through and admitted he had to go through some counseling too for it. He said he made 2 more Iraq tours (for Op Iraqi Freedom) and one for Kosovo and he said those weren't as intense as Desert Storm.

Im nearly in tears. I feel validated that he understands what I have been struggling with over the last 21 years. Now its time to tackle the paperwork (the letter and the ..."nexus" is it?). My VSO thinks that the letter will make this much easier for my case.


That is awesome news and you do not need other people to validate your struggles. When my claim was turned down at first I questioned myself and began to wonder crazy things until I spoke with a Vietnam Vet who pointed out it is common because we see the world around us in our luxurious culture and feel unable to connect with people who have no clue about our experiences.

When the VA rejects claims it is not primarily based on the evidence but the agenda of finance because if the DOD spends too much money on Vets how can they continue their tight budget of a paltry $700 billion? We are.just being selfish.

Keep up the good fight.


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