POST SERVICE OFFICER
Brandon "Matt" HESS
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This is a shocking statistic.
Percentage who actually have served their Country in the military:
In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years.
In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years.
Since 2001, less than 1% of our citizens
have served in the Global War on Terror.
Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse.
Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military.
Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold.
Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts.
The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families.
The volunteers, the people who swore an oath to defend this nation.
You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on.
You've lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you'll never get back, and beaten your body in a way, that even professional athletes don't understand.
Then you come home to a nation that doesn't understand.
They don't understand suffering.
They don't understand sacrifice.
They don't understand why we fight for them.
They don't understand that bad people exist.
They look at you like you're a machine - like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one - not them.
When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can't understand the macro issues they gathered from books, because of your bias.
You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more.
But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you've given up.
You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.
Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought of as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway.
You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done,
since 1775 - YOU SERVED.
Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.
"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many
to so few." – Winston Churchill
Thank you to those who have served,
and continue to serve our Nation!
"Freedom is not free . . .
but the U.S. Military
will pay most of your share."
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The story of Agent Orange and its impact on Vietnam-era vets has played out on a public stage, with much more press coverage of and commentary on the issue than occurred with asbestos.
For an interminable period of time veterans complained about various illnesses and the military command structure was resolute in denying any connection between the herbicides and veteran complaints. It’s been a very slow turn to the situation today, when the VA provides volumes of information on Agent Orange-related illnesses and health issues. The lawsuits started in 1979.
In 1983 as the result of a class action lawsuit, several chemical companies involved with the manufacture of Agent Orange set up a $180 million trust fund to pay damage claims filed by veterans who could claim “total disability” as the result of exposure to the herbicides. However the guidelines for claim recognition, the requirements for proof of illness and the window of opportunity for filing those claims led to fewer than 50,000 paid claims. The lawsuits have continued with no real civil restitution for the additional hundreds of thousands of veterans who
may have been exposed, but the VA has slowly come to terms with the health damage that Agent Orange did to an entire generation of combat veterans. In 2003 the acknowledged link between Agent Orange and chronic lymphocytic leukemia; other diseases have followed.
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Agent Orange exposure
Q. How do I know if I have a claim for Agent Orange?
A. Many Vietnam War veterans are concerned that they have been exposed to Agent Orange, the chemical herbicide used to destroy jungle foliage in order to expose enemy troops.
Public Law 107-103 provides a presumption of exposure to herbicides for all veterans who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam era.
You do not have to prove you were sprayed or in an area that was sprayed if you served in Vietnam from Jan. 9, 1962, to May 7, 1975.
However, before you begin to file a claim, you must have proof of service in Vietnam during the war time and medical documentation of the condition(s) officially recognized by VA.
The following is a list of diseases that VA recognizes as related to Agent Orange exposure:
Peripheral neuropathy (acute and subacute)
Chronic B-cell leukemia
Ischemic heart disease
Porphyria cutanea tarda
Respiratory cancers (e.g., lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus)
Soft tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma)
Type 2 diabetes
Learn more about the diseases: www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp
Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may be eligible for an Agent Orange registry health exam, health care benefits and disability compensation.
Contact your local American Legion accredited service officer to discuss possible benefits and file a claim:
To see the lingering effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam, click below:
Legacy of Agent Orange
Thank You Monsanto and Dow Chemical !!!
Increased Social Security Benefits For Vets
If you served on active duty any time from 1957 through 2001 (the program was done away with on 1 January 2002), you may qualify for a higher social security payment because of your Military service. Up to $1200 per year of earnings credit can be credited at time of application - which can make a substantial difference in social security monthly payments upon your retirement.
You MUST take your DD-214 to the Social Security Office and you must ask for this benefit to receive it!
For more info, please visit the Social Security website at:
or call 1-800-772-1213
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NEW GULF WAR, OIF, OEF, PRESUMPTIVE CONDITIONS
THE VA HAS PROPOSED A REGULATION CHANGE THAT NAMES 9 CONDITIONS OR DISEASES AS ''PRESUMPTIVE'' DUE TO SERVICE IN THE PERSIAN GULF WAR, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE CURRENT WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.
THE 9 INFECTIOUS DISEASES INCLUDE: BRUCELOSIS, CAMPYLOBACTER JEJUNI, COXIELLA BURNETTI(QFEVER), MALARIA, MYCOBACTERIUM, TUBERCULOSIS, NONTYPHOID SALMONELLA, SHIGELLA, VISCERAL LEISHMANIASIS, WEST NILE VIRUS.
VETERANS SUFFERING FROM ILLNESSES WITH UNEXPLAINED SYMPTOMS EXISTING FOR 6 MONTHS OR MORE SHOULD CONSIDER FILING A VA CLAIM- ILLNESSES SUCH AS -CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME, FIBROMYALGIA, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME.
Gulf War Claims Deadline
For Gulf War Veterans with certain ailments like: Chronic fatigue syndrome; Firbromyalgia; Functional gastrointestinal disorders; and other undiagnosed illnesses the current deadline for when the condition must have "appeared" is on or before December 31, 2011. If you have any conditions that are "undiagnosed" and you did a tour in the Middle East, this could apply to you.
The VA is working to extend the deadline to December 31, 2018.
If this occurs, it will be great news for veterans and military members who develop symptoms after the 2011 cut-off. However, since there is no guarantee that the deadline will be extended veterans suffering from undiagnosed conditions are encouraged to talk with their Veteran Service Officer about filing a disability claim for these conditions.
Check out the Military Advantage Blog to get more information.
AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSI
(LOU GEHRIGS DISEASE )
ALS IS RECOGNIZED AS SERVICE CONNECTED FOR ANY VETERAN WHO SERVED CONTINUOUSLY FOR 90 DAYS OR MORE REGARDLESS OF WHEN THAT SERVICE WAS PERFORMED. WIDOWS OF VETERANS WHO DIED FROM ALS MAY ALSO BE ELIGIBLE FOR DEATH BENEFITS(DIC) AND OTHER SERVICE CONNECTED DEATH BENEFITS.
Those Denied Purple Heart Should Reapply
Active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers, as well as veterans, who were denied Purple Heart awards for concussive or mild traumatic brain injuries are encouraged to resubmit documentation for reconsideration of the medal.
The injury must have occurred on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
Active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers must resubmit through their chains of command. Veterans should submit packages directly to Army Human Resources Command. They can obtain copies of their deployment orders from the Veteran's Inquiry Branch by Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Veterans will also need to submit their DD Form 214. More information on submission requirements is available at Army Human Resources Command.
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