Upon leaving Active Duty, with a permenant 3 profile on my lower extremities and a 2 on my hearing, I filed for VA compensation with the VA in San Diego, CA in February, 1986, and received their denial decision in April of the same year. In issuing their denial decision, they claimed that they believed there was no way my Military duties could possibly aggravated my "pre-existing" condition. No matter what I argued, they wouldn't budge. (NOTE: This becomes a key to my case. The VA's in-ability to recognize and admit that the "pre-existing" condition had been corrected and was then later aggravated by my Military service . . . even though it was documented throughout my medical records.)
Now I'm stuck learning a new career, because you can't get a job as a physical education instructor when you are limited to less than 5 minutes on your feet and unable to lift or carry more than 10 pounds occasionally. I found odd jobs and then joined the USAR's 1394th USADCU (United States Army Deployment Control Unit) as a Team Chief of Air and Rail Load outs. While in this position, I became qualified as a Load Master for C-130 and C-141. As well as teaching rail loading to units in CA, AZ, and ND. I also graduated from the USN School Treasure Island, as a Hazardous Materials certifier for domestic and international shipment of hazardous materials.
I also got married and we started having children. This meant I had to leave the USAR, because I was traveling too much and missed the birth of our first child and all the memorable first events that go with it. I ended up going to work for The Boeing Company on the B-2 project in Palmdale, CA, as a Manufacturer's Helper. During this time, I missed the birth of our second child. I was on mandated over-time, ordered by the USAF in completion of one of the bombers. On the bright side, Boeing decided to pick me up and transferred me to Everett, WA, as a Post Production Planner on the 747.
Once I got to Everett, I went through the Boeing Manufacturing, Tool and Planner course. I did a short time in Business Management, then went to the Liaison Change Commitments Board (LCC) for the 747 and 767. After some time doing this, I was chosen to be part of the O&IR Change Commitments Team (OCI). From there, I went back to the LCC and worked my way up to the M.E. representative on the board.
My legs were now giving me a lot of trouble and I met Dr. John Gould. Dr. Gould was a well noted Orthopedic surgeon in the Pcific Northwest. Because of my young age, they don't want to replace joints if at all possible. Dr. Gould put me on new meds that helped, yet didn't have a history of destroying the kidneys or liver. He also told me that I needed to slow down and try to evade having my hips replaced as long as possible. Yes, my hips rated replacing . . . but let's wait as long as possible.
While in Everett, our third child was born. At three years of age, "John" still couldn't talk and the Mukilteo School District refused to help until he turned 5. Finding this unacceptable, I moved my family back to Minnesota to get my son the help he needed.
If this story makes you mad about the VA . . .
If this story makes you mad about the VA . . . contact your Representatives in Congress and the Senate, or the Veteran's Administration and let them know how you feel about the way the VA treats our vets. You can reference my blog or or the stories of many other vet's and their treatment by the VA available on the web.