While I was with Co. B, I applied for the AGR program and active duty. While participating in our unit's 2 week active duty for training in 1982, I found out that I had been accepted to both. Decision time!!! Our BN was assigned as the back up or USAR round-out BN to the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Alaska) and BG Vail and our evaluators were from the 4th BN, 9th Infantry Regiment, out of FT Wainwright. BG Vail and COL David RE Hale (4/9) were impressed with my knowledge and expertise with mortars, pulled me aside and asked me if I would be interested in becoming the 4/9's Combat Support Companies (CSC) Battalion Mortars Platoon Leader. After thinking about it . . . I chose active duty and as a 2LT, was assigned as the BM Mortars Platoon Leader of the 4th BN, 9th Infantry Regiment "Arctic Manchu's". (This was quite an honor, since the position is usually reserved for a senior 1LT, and there were a number of them trying for the position.)
I need to correct a something from my earlier post . . . It was at this time, that I had my second medical drop from Airborne school, when my right knee cap dropped and locked up my leg.
During my time in this position, we participated in Brim Frost '83, during which time we spent many hours in the field at temperatures ranging between -40F and -62F. Our packs averaged 125+ pounds and we covered many km's on foot, shoe shoes, and ski's. As Arctic Warriors, we did it all in the cold . . . surviving on the tundra, to the mountains and the glaciers. We trained hard and we learned that the Soviet's were extremely impressed with our abilities and the speed of our movement in the field, from an intercepted Soviet intelligence report. (They believed that we had to be using wind sleds, when in reality, we were on foot, show shoes, and ski's.)
While on a training mission late in '83, I went down in the field. I had to be medivaced back to main post and Bassett Army Hospital. At BAH, they thought I had fractured both hips, but after sending me to the hospital in Fairbanks for an MRI, it was discovered that I was in the advanced stages of De-generative Joint Disease. (NOTE: This is documented in my Military Medical Records and shows an aggravation of the pre-existing condition. This is important to note for future postings, as the VA will try to claim that my Active Military service could not and did not aggravate the pre-existing condition.)
I had since been promoted to 1LT and since I was no longer capable of leading an Infantry unit in the field, I was transferred to FT Greely and became the Operations Officer for FT Greely. While at FT Greely, I went before the Medical Review Board (MRB) and was found "Fit for retention on Active Duty, with limitations of find a new career. After 36 months on Active Duty, my contract was over and I PCS'ed and was discharged from Active Duty.
The fight with the Veteran's Administration began at that point.
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.