Edition 2001-004

Edition 2001-004
Looking for a
Country Which
Knows How to
Honor Its
Veterans?
By Tom Applegate
There is a country I’ve heard of which
really takes care of its veterans.
In that country, veterans who serve for
two or more years, less if they served before
1980, are taken care of for the rest of their
lives.
From the moment of their discharge
they are immediately eligible for medical
care for life. If they don’t earn enough
money, their care is free at veteran hospitals
which have been established all over the
country. If they have no insurance the cost
of emergency care in a civilian hospital is
absorbed by the government.
At the veteran’s hospital they can
undergo a major operation, get doctor and
nursing care, medicines and meals for less
than $800 plus $10 a day while they’re there.
They can get prescription medicine at
any of these veteran’s hospitals for less
than $8 for a 30-day supply, and when they
need them, many veterans get eyeglasses
and hearing aids for free.
Veterans in that country who served
during a wartime period, are totally
disabled and have limited income actually
receive a pension from the government,
and, those who were wounded or injured
while they were serving get special
compensation, which is paid to them based
on the severity of their disability. If their
disability exceeds a certain rating, and if
they have dependents, the government pays
them even more money every month.
A Newsletter for Indiana’s Veterans’ Service Officers
Veterans who have difficulty coping
with things they may have done or saw
while they were in combat or other
stressful situations, can get free counseling
at centers which have been established all
over the country, and also at the veteran’s
hospitals. If their service connected
disability causes them difficulty being
hired or holding a job, the government will
retrain them for a whole new occupation.
If they were injured to such a degree
that they need to be in a wheelchair or use
some other kind of device, the government
will pay to have their house or their car
adapted so they can use them more easily.
Those same veterans get a clothing
allowance every year to replace clothing
which was damaged by prosthetic devices devices which were furnished by the
government.
The government of that country even
makes it possible for its veterans to buy or
remodel a house without having to make a
down payment, and even guarantees the
loan to the lender. In some states, veterans
service connected disabled to a degree of at
least 10% pay less property taxes.
Veterans in that country who serve in
the armed forces for over three years and
who agree to have $100 a month withheld
from their pay for the first 12 months they
serve, can go to college while they are still
in the military or after their discharge and
have most of it paid for by the government.
In addition, there are state educational
programs which pay entirely or in part for
the education of the veteran’s dependents.
There are laws in that country which
prohibit discrimination at work against
veterans
because they are disabled.
Veterans get special consideration when
applying for jobs and have preference for
government positions.
Even the surviving spouses of these
veterans are cared for. Widowed spouses
who have low income can receive a
pension even if the veteran served only one
day during a wartime period, even if that
August 20, 2001
service was not in the combat area, as long
as the period of service was for at least 90
days. Widowed spouses of veterans who
died of service connected disabilities or
died while they were in service or were
rated 100% service connected disabled at
the time of their death, can receive
compensation of almost $1,000 a month,
with annual cost of living increases, for the
rest of their life.
The veteran who retires from a career
in the military service, or the surviving
spouse, either of which is over age 65, is
covered by supplemental insurance which
pays the deductible and the remainder of
covered medical expenses not paid for by
their own or by government medical care
insurance. This same kind of supplemental
insurance is provided to the surviving
spouse of veterans who were totally
service connected disabled or who died of
their service connected disability.
When veterans pass away, the
government of that country gives a
national flag to the survivor of the veteran
and
furnishes
a
grave
marker
commemorating their service. There have
also been hundreds of veteran cemeteries
established all over the country where a
veteran can be buried for free. Some
survivors of veterans who suffered
disabilities get paid up to $450 funeral and
plot allowance to help defray the cost of
the funeral. Even others are eligible for as
much as $1500.
And to top it off, that country has set
aside two days a year to honor its veterans:
one to honor those who have passed away
or who died while serving their country,
and the other for those veterans who served
honorably and are still living.
That country sure knows how to take
care of its veterans.
Veterans who want to move to that
country don’t have far to go. It’s the good
old United States of America. As Lee
Greenwood says, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
*************************
2
VA Announces
New Benefit,
“CHAMPVA
For Life”
August 2, 2001
WASHINGTON -- Improvements to
the Civilian Health and Medical Program
of the Department of Veterans Affairs
(CHAMPVA) will bring financial relief to
older survivors and dependents of some
disabled or deceased veterans who face
medical expenses not paid by Medicare or
other third-party payers.
Called “CHAMPVA for Life,” (CFL)
the new benefit is designed for spouses or
dependents who are 65 or older. They must
be family members of veterans who have a
permanent and total service-connected
disability, who died of a service-connected
condition or who were totally disabled
from a service-connected condition at the
time of death. They also must have
Medicare coverage.
This benefit is also provided for
surviving spouses who remarried after the
death of the veteran, providing the
subsequent marriage was terminated by
divorce from or death of the subsequent
spouse.
”This improved benefit is part of
VA’s continuing effort to make sure the
families of disabled veterans have health
care when the veterans can no longer
provide it,” said Secretary of Veterans
Affairs Anthony J. Principi. “I’m delighted
we can provide prescription outpatient
medication coverage, a benefit not offered
by Medicare.”
Beginning October 1, CHAMPVA
will pay benefits for covered medical
services to eligible beneficiaries who are
65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Parts
A&B.
The “CHAMPVA for Life” benefit is
payable after payment by Medicare or other
third-party payers.
For services not
covered by Medicare or other insurance,
such
as
outpatient
prescription
medications, CHAMPVA will be the
primary payer.
CHAMPVA
beneficiaries
who
reached age 65 as of June 5, 2001, but were
not enrolled in Medicare Part B on that
date, will be eligible for this expanded
benefit even though not enrolled in
Medicare Part B. There is no change in
CHAMPVA
coverage
for
those
beneficiaries 65 and older who do not
qualify for Medicare.
CFL Beneficiaries Cannot Use a VA
Medical Center
CHAMPVA beneficiaries with MEDI
CARE cannot use a VA medical center
because MEDICARE does not pay for
services provided by a VA Medical Center.
Those who are currently being seen at a VA
medical center, will need to find a different
provider before MEDICARE and CFL will
cover them.
Costs Under CFL
1. If the service is covered by
MEDICARE and CHAMPVA, there will
almost always be no out-of-pocket
expense.
2. If the service is covered by
MEDICARE and not by CHAMPVA, the
MEDICARE co-pay must be paid.
3. If the service is not covered by
MEDICARE, but is covered by
CHAMPVA, pay the CHAMPVA co-pay
(typically 25%).
been eligible for CHAMPVA can request
an application by writing to the VA Health
Administration Center (HAC), P.O. Box
469028, Denver, CO 80246-9028.
Veterans and family members can
also call toll-free, 1-888-289-2411, to
obtain the latest recorded information,
leave a change of address, or request
information to be mailed to them. This
phone line is available 24 hours a day.
Inquiries may also be e-mailed to
[email protected]
Updates about “CHAMPVA for Life”
and other benefits information will be
posted to VA’s Health Administration
Center Web site at http://www.va.gov/hac.
SOURCE: VA News Release
1. To contact TRICARE Help Desks, call
the following toll-free numbers:
oGeneral TRICARE information/
assistance: 1-877-363-2273
oTRICARE Pharmacy: 1-877363- 6337
oTRICARE For Life: 1-888363-5433
2. To obtain assistance via E-mail, contact
mailto:[email protected]
or
mailto:[email protected]
MEDICARE Annual Deductibles
and CFL
CHAMPVA does not have an annual
deductible for inpatient care, so it will
cover the MEDICARE deductible normally
paid by the dependent. Currently, there is a
$792 MEDICARE deductible for inpatient
stays of 1-60 days. CHAMPVA would pay
the dependent the $792.
The MEDICARE deductible for
outpatient services is $100. CHAMPVA
will reimburse $37.50 of the $100.
CFL Does Not Pay MEDICARE
Part B Premiums
The dependent is responsible for
those monthly premiums.
Information about the new benefit
was recently mailed to all previous
CHAMPVA beneficiaries and providers
who have filed claims with CHAMPVA.
People over age 65 who have never
*********************
Type II, Adult
Onset Diabetes
Claims Effective
July 9, 2001
VA has named July 9, 2001, the date
of the regulation, as the effective date for
claims for Type II diabetes.
Claims filed previous to that date will
have an effective date of July 9, 2001.
On page 8 of this Eagle is a form
which the veteran claimant can take to
have filled out by his private doctor. The
form covers the basic information needed
by VA to evaluate the claim and may save
(continued on page 3)
Type II Diabetes
(continued from
page 2)
the veteran from needing to take a
subsequent C&P exam.
Thanks to Randy Fairchild, INVSOA
Vice-President and Tippecanoe County
CVSO for providing the information for
the form.
*************************
Indemnity Compensation).
Furthermore, all veterans and
surviving spouses should reopen their
claim for reconsideration under this law if
they previously had an inactive duty
disability or death claim denied when the
death or disability was caused from a heart
attack or stroke.
Additional information is available
by contacting The American Legion
Department Service Office.
“Active Military
From American Legion Service and
Update, May 31, 2001.
Service” Partially Legislative
*************************
Redefined for
Merchant
Veterans Benefits Marines Granted
Purposes
Veteran Status
Includes additional
Guard/Reserve periods of
training
Public Law 106-419, The Veterans’
Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act,
signed November 1, 2000, included a
provision revising the definition of the
term “active military service” for veterans
benefits purposes.
Public Law 106-419 expanded this
term to now include “any period of
inactive duty for training during which
the individual concerned was disabled
or died from an injury incurred or
aggravated in line of duty, or from an
acute myocardial infarction, cardiac
arrest, or a cerebrovascular accident
occurring during such service.”
Prior to this legislation, VA could not
service connect any type of disease entity
aggravated by “inactive duty for training.”
Inactive duty for training normally
includes weekend drills and annual
training for reservists.
Also prior to passage of Public Law
106-419, VA routinely denied service
connection for cause of death cases even
when a member of the service died while
performing physical endurance exercises
or testing during inactive duty for training.
Now, all future heart attacks or stroke
related deaths or disabilities incurred
during inactive duty for training may be
service connected requiring VA payment
of either disability compensation or
survivor’s death benefits (Dependency
In 1998, Merchant Marines who
served any time between December 7,
1941 and August 15, 1945 were granted
veterans status for VA benefits.
Additionally, in November 1998
Public Law 105-368 granted veterans
benefits, mostly burial benefits, to
merchant mariners who served from
August 16, 1945 through December 31,
1946.
3
discharge by the Defense Secretary to
qualify for VA benefits. Service in the
following groups has been certified as
active military service for benefits
purposes. Included in those groups is:
“U.S. merchant seamen who served on
blockships in support of Operation
Mulberry in the World War II invasion of
Normandy”; and “American merchant
marines in oceangoing service during
World War II.”
In order to apply for these benefits,
the merchant marine must request and
receive a DD Form 214. Veterans in the
first group will be provided one
free-of-charge. Veterans in the second
group must purchase theirs.
Both groups can apply by completing
DD Form 2168 and mailing it, along with
copies of any merchant marine documents
proving dates of service to U.S. Coast
Guard, USCG WW2, P.O. Box 804118,
Chicago, IL 60601-4118. Members in the
latter group should enclose a check or
money order for $30, payable to the U.S.
Coast Guard.
The USCG has one year to process
the application. The merchant mariner will
receive a DD Form 214 issued by the
Department of Defense. He may then apply
for the appropriate VA benefits.
*************************
New Funeral
Program Teams
Active Military
and Veterans’
Groups
by Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
According to VA Pamphlet 80-01-1,
the 2001 Federal Benefits for Veterans and
Dependents, a number of groups who have
provided military-related services to the
United States have been granted VA
benefits. For the service to qualify, the
Defense Secretary must certify that the
group has provided active military service.
Individual members must be issued a
WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The
Defense Department is teaming with
veteran’s service organizations across the
country to enhance traditional funeral
ceremonies that honor the nation’s military
veterans.
Representatives from the office of the
secretary of defense, the military services,
the Department of Veterans Affairs,
veteran’s service organizations, the
National Cemetery Administration, the
(continued on page 4)
4
New Funeral Program
(continued from page 3)
Funeral Directors Association and other
groups met June 28 at American Legion
headquarters here for the announcement of
the Authorized Provider Partnership
Program’s July debut.
Charles
S.
Abell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for
force
management
policy,
said
the
American
Legion,
Veterans of Foreign
Wars
and
other
groups will be asked
to augment DODprovided personnel at
military funerals by
providing volunteers
to serve as color
guards, rifle detail
members, pallbearers
and buglers.
”We want to
provide the appropriate honors to veterans
who pass away,” Abell said. “The veterans
organizations want to help us, and we
would like to have their help. (The
program) will enhance the honors that can
be rendered with their performance.”
The National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2000 authorizes the
partnership program and also states DOD
will provide at least two active, guard or
reserve uniformed servicemembers to fold
and present a ceremonial U.S. flag to
survivors at military funerals. One of the
two detail members must be of the same
service as the deceased.
DOD also provides a military
musician, if available, to play “Taps,” or
the music is rendered via high-quality
compact disc. The CDs, recorded at
Arlington National Cemetery in 1999, are
part of a kit sent to licensed funeral
directors working in association with
DOD, veterans service organizations, and
all active and reserve component military
units conducting funerals.
“What we have now,” Abell added,
“is a formal program where veterans
service organizations can be trained by the
local (military) installation commander ...
(to) ensure that the quality of the honors
rendered are to standard and that the
funeral honors rendered in any particular
place around the nation will be the
same,” he said.
Installation commanders will train
and certify volunteers, Abell said. The
volunteers, he added, are eligible for
reimbursement of their travel expenses,
such as gas and meals associated with their
ceremonial duties.
Other groups,
he added, such as
ROTC detachments
and reserve component advisory units
could also participate in the program.
Letters introducing the program,
a 20-minute training video, and pins
for presentation to
participants will be
mailed to military
unit commanders
during July, officials said. Letters
explaining the program and training videos will also be
mailed to veterans service organizations.
Abell, attending the Washington
meeting with John M. Molino, Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military
Community and Family Policy, remarked
that America’s World War II and Korean
War veterans are passing on at an increased
rate.
DOD officials note that 91,074
military funeral honors were performed in
2000, a 110-percent increase from the
43,277 funerals performed in 1999. All the
military services report increased military
funeral honors ceremonies so far this year.
Retired Army Col. Mike Duggan, the
American Legion’s Deputy Director of
National Security and Foreign Relations,
said at the meeting, “that World War II vets
comprise about 40 percent of the Legion’s
membership.” While the American Legion
today has about 4,000 funeral detail teams,
“we’re losing the people who are providing
the (funeral) honors as well,” he said.
Military officials said additional
reserve component participation is
augmenting the active-duty military funeral
teams; however, Abell reiterated the
importance of participation by organizations outside DOD.
”In order to provide a more complete
service, with a firing detail, color guard and
pallbearers, we rely on the patriotism
and volunteerism of the veteran’s service
organizations,” he said. “Any enhancements that we can provide would just make
that better, but the minimum requirement
will be met for any family of an authorized
veteran who requests such honors.”
Providing final honors for the
nation’s veterans is “the right thing to do,”
Abell said. “We asked them to put their
lives on the line for the freedoms we all
enjoy today. As they reach the end of their
lives, the nation has a commitment to them,
owes them an honor as they pass.
”For those who want that honor, we
will provide it.”
*************************
New Quick
Reference Guide to
Veterans Benefits
Available
The Service Officer’s Reference
Cards have been replaced by the new
Quick Reference Guide (QRG) to Veterans
Benefits.
Tom Applegate, developer of both,
says the Reference Cards, although handy,
were just too hard to keep up to date and
maintain. CVSOs who have the cards
should switch over to the QRG, which is
printed on regular-size paper and is kept in
a 3-ring binder. It contains all the same
information as the cards and gives
information on filing for each particular
benefit and advises the correct forms to use.
The QRG can also be used on the
computer. Its index links directly to the
pages. Simply click on the page number in
the index and the program, written in
Microsoft Word format, takes you directly
to that page. Additionally, if there is some
other topic which relates to another, the
Guide links directly to that page.
Best yet, the new QRG, if used on a
computer which has the Adobe Acrobat
Reader installed, and while connected to
the Internet, has direct access to the actual
VA forms which can be typed on while still
in the computer, then printed and mailed.
CVSOs with known e-mail addresses
have already been e-mailed the new Guide.
Those with or without computers who would
like either a paper copy of the Guide or a disk
with the Guide for use on the computer, should
contact Tom Applegate at 219-358-4863 or
e-mail to: [email protected]
*************************
5
Letters to the Editor
Hi folks I recently received an e-mail from
Paul
Angrisano
(VVA
CSR-NY)
concerning awards of presumptive SC for
diabetes mellitus Type II. Paul just secured
an award of SC for a client, effective as of
July 9, 2001. As you know, the VA’s final
regulation establishing presumtive SC for
this disorder has an effective date of July 9,
2001. Paul inquired as to whether we
should be filing appeals (NODs) to the
assignment of 7/9/01 as the effective date
of SC, where the veteran has filed a claim
for SC for Type II diabetes before that date.
The short answer is - no, not yet.
I testified before Congress on
Tuesday, 7/10/01, with respect to this very
issue. The argument essentially is that if
exposure to herbicidal agents is presumed
and the veteran had filed a claim for service
connection for diabetes mellitus (Type II)
prior to July 9, 2001, there is no reason why
the effective date of an award of service
connection should not be established
retroactively to the date of the VA’s receipt
of the original claim for service connection.
See, generally, 38 U.S.C. § 5110(a); 38
C.F.R. § 3.400. The problem is that 38
U.S.C. § 1116(c)(2) provides that VA
regulations promulgated as a result of the
Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ conclusion
that a positive association exists between
exposure to herbicidal agents and a
specified condition or disease “shall be
effective on the date of issuance” of the
regulation.
In view of 38 U.S.C. 1116(c)(2) and
5110(g), the VA apparently does not have
the authority to provide for a regulatory
assignment of an effective date earlier than
the date on which the rule was issued (here,
effectively July 9, 2001). Consequently, an
appeal of the 7/9/01 effective date for SC
would not suceed, since the VA is legally
precluded from granting an effective date
earlier than the effective date of the
regulation.
We should therefore hold off on filing
NODs now, in the hopes that Congress will
heed our argument and pass H.R. 862 as we
have recommended. I explained to the
House Veterans Affairs Committee that in
order to correct the inequity of the delayed
recognition
of
the
impact
of
service-connected diabetes on the lives of
veterans and their families, Congress
should include in H.R. 862 a provision
establishing an effective date for
presumptive service connection retroactive
to the date of an original claim for service
connection for that disorder. We believe
that such a directive would be consistent
with the case of Nehmer v. U.S. Veterans
Administration, C.A. No. C-86-6160
(TEH) (N.D. Cal.) (awards of disability
compensation
or
dependency
and
indemnity compensation (DIC) made
pursuant to VA regulations issued on the
basis of 38 U.S.C. § 1116 may, under
certain circumstances, be made retroactive
to the date of an earlier claim that was filed
before the issuance of such regulations).
Once the law has been amended to
allow for retroactive SC, we can file new
claims for earlier effective dates. To
appeal these original awards now would
only waste your and your clients’ times,
since the VA and the BVA have legal
justification to establish an effective date of
7/9/01. Please rest assured that we will
continue to lobby for a change in the law in
this respect.
You can review my testimony on our
website under legislative affairs/recent
VVA testimony. Click on the 7/10/01
hearing.
The AO-related testimony
appears under H.R. 862.
Thank you very much for you
continued excellent work on behalf of our
clients.
Best regards,
Len Selfon
Vietnam Veterans of America
************************
Forwarded from Monte Crenshaw,
AMVETS
August 8, 2001
Director (00/21)
In Reply Refer To: 216
All VA Regional Offices and
Centers
Fast Letter 01-74
SUBJ: Burial of Homeless and
Indigent Veterans
In response to recent Congressional
and Office of the Inspector General
interest, we are reminding you of the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
commitment to assist in the burial of
unclaimed remains of homeless and
indigent veterans.
Purpose
The purpose of this letter is to ask that
field station Directors:
Ensure that coordination is established among regional offices, VA medical
centers and National cemeteries to improve
the ways in which VA works together to
identify and determine the veteran status of
unclaimed decedents of those who have
served in uniform.
Re-establish and maintain liaison
with funeral directors, veterans services
organizations, and involved local agencies
of jurisdiction providing service for
unclaimed remains.
Establish a point of contact at the
regional office that will handle incoming
inquiries on unclaimed remains for
identification of a known deceased person
alleged to be a veteran.
Meet or correspond with local
Medical Examiner’s offices or other
involved local agencies to provide them
with a description of the benefits available
for the burial of these veterans and to
outline procedures to be followed.
State Benefits Reference System
Information about burial benefits
available from local and State resources is
contained in the State Benefits Reference
System.
Employees responsible for
working with the indigent veteran burial
program should be familiar with those
benefits. Additional information about the
State Benefits Reference System is
contained in Fast Letter 01-53.
(continued on page 6)
6
Fast Letter 01-74 (continued
from page 5)
2. “Best Practices”
In many locations, VA medical
centers, regional offices, and national
cemeteries have developed “One VA best
practices” by working together to establish
procedures for providing dignified burials
for otherwise abandoned veterans. Some
of
these
are
featured
in
the
January/February 2001 VAnguard. This
publication is available via Internet at
www.va.gov/pubaff/vanguard/index.htm.
Legislative Authorities and Program
Procedures
The following citations are related to
burial benefits and burial of indigent
veterans:
38 CFR 3.1603, 38 CFR 3.1604, 38
CFR 3. 1604(d), 38 DFR 3.1610, 38 U.S.C.
Section 2301, 38 U.S.C. Section 2302, 38
U.S.C. Section 2303 (a)(1) and (b), M21-1,
Part III, Chapter 13, M21-1, Part VII,
Chapter 4.
Your cooperation and support are
appreciated. Questions should be directed
to http://vbaw.vba.va.gov/bl/21/calendar/
index.htm.
This letter rescinds July 21, 2004.
/s/
Ronald
J. Henke, Director
Compensation and Pension Service
*********************
40 Percent
Chance of
Benefits Error
A May 31 General Accounting Office
report finds the Department of Veterans
Affairs has made little progress in
improving the accuracy of claims decisions.
Last year, 40 percent of claims
decisions had mistakes, far from the
Veterans Benefits Administration’s goal of
96 percent accuracy.
The problem continues even though
the VA has hired more people to handle
claims, because many new employees have
yet to be fully trained in the intracacies of
the process.
VA officials hope to improve their
accuracy by 8 percentage points this year,
but this would still leave a 32 percent
chance that the wrong decision will be
made when a veteran asks for help.
Lawmakers and the Bush administration are clearly unhappy and will be
pressing for a quicker solution.
VA Secretary Anthony Principi has
made this issue one of his top priorities.
Note: We at the Huntington office
have found the VA tends to initially
under-rate a claim. Whether this is done on
purpose by VA in an attempt to reduce
spending, or if the VA ratings board
actually feels they have made the proper
rating, may be something we’ll never know.
But, it is for this reason we always tell
veterans who file a claim through our office
to notify us as soon as possible after they
receive a rating decision. In most cases, we
have already provided VA with all the
information they need to award a higher
rating - it is just a case of convincing them
the rating should be higher.
This is another good reason for
advising the veteran claimant to appoint a
representative from one of the veterans
organizations. Without a representative,
our office would never receive copies of
rating decisions unless the claimant brings
them in. Many times, we have had to call or
write the claimant to advise them of their
opportunity to disagree with a VA decision.
We’ve found most claimants, although
advised in writing by VA of their appellant
rights, tend to consider VA decisions as
final and, unless advised otherwise, tend to
accept the decision.
The scary thought is that perhaps VA
knows of this tendency and intentionally
under-rates claims, thinking the claimant
will simply accept the decision. We would
hope this is not the case, but we’re not
naive enough to think it may not be a
possibility.
**************************
The Truth, by
the Numbers
Finally, the truth about Vietnam
War Veterans
By Fred Peck
Col. USMC (Ret.)
What is the truth about Vietnam War
veterans?
The facts easily prove Vietnam War
veterans are as well-adjusted as veterans of
previous wars, and even as successful or
more successful than their peers who did
not serve. But no one wants to listen. They
“know” that Vietnam War vets are the
dregs of society. They “know” that they
were drafted from the lower rungs of
society and were disproportionally young,
poor and minorities. They “know” Vietnam
War vets were just cannon fodder who
returned home addicted to drugs and
suffering from post-traumatic stress
disorder. That’s what they’ve been told
over and over again. Why should they
believe otherwise?
What is the truth about Vietnam War
veterans?
A 1980 Harris Poll showed that 91
percent of Vietnam War veterans were glad
they’d served their country, 74 percent
enjoyed their time in the service and 89
percent agreed that “our troops were asked
to fight in a war which our political leaders
in Washington would not let them win.”
Nine million men and women served
in the military during the Vietnam War, 3
million of whom went to the Vietnam
theater. Contrary to popular myths,
two-thirds of these were volunteers; only a
third were draftees. Contrast that with the
fact that two-thirds of those who served in
World War II were drafted. That is not to
malign those who served in World War II,
including my father and uncle. It’s just to
point out the fallacy of two myths:
Myth Number One: In World War II,
the vast majority of those who served were
volunteers.
Myth Number two: In Vietnam, the
vast majority were draftees.
That’s just not so.
Consider these facts as reported by
James Webb: In World War II the average
(continued on page 7)
The Truth by Numbers
(continued from page 6)
age of those who served was 25, of which
24 percent were high-school graduates and
7 percent were college graduates. In the
Vietnam War, the average age was 23,
where 79 percent
were
high-school
graduates, and 20
percent were college
graduates. Volunteers
made up 67 percent of
the forces in the
Vietnam War but
suffered 77 percent of
the casualties and 43
percent of the deaths.
Webb also
debunks the myth
repeated frequently
today that minorities
suffered a disproportionate level of the
casualties. In fact,
Webb and many
others have reported that AfricanAmericans were 13.1 percent of the
population during the Vietnam War, and
they represented 12.6 percent of the Armed
Forces. Contrary to conventional wisdom,
they did not suffer disproportionate
casualties in Vietnam - 12.2 percent of
those
killed
or
wounded
were
African-American. Still, the myths remain.
Telling the story right.
Militarily, tactically and strategically, we learned a great deal from the
war in Vietnam. On the social front,
however, it appears we have lost the war
again and almost without a fight.
In my hometown of Gunnison,
Colo., I pointed out to the students on
Veterans Day that their county sheriff was a
Vietnam War vet, as was the owner of a
local construction business, an architect,
two college professors, a lumber store
manager and one millionaire venture
capitalist.
Once it was popular to speak of
winning the hearts and minds of the
Vietnamese people if we hoped to win the
war. Now it behooves all veterans to win
the hearts and minds of current generations,
if we are finally to “know” the most
important lesson of the Vietnam War here
at home: When their country needed them,
Vietnam War veterans answered the call.
The alternative is to continue to let the likes
of Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola and
Stanley Kubrick tell their story - and tell it
wrong.
The vast majority of Vietnam War
veterans served willingly and faithfully,
and they deserve the
recognition and gratitude of their country
just as fully as do the
veterans of our other
wars. It is our duty to
tell our children and
our
grandchildren
that Vietnam War
veterans served with
honor. That’s a duty I
don’t take lightly nor should you.
Excerpted from an
article
in
The
American
Legion
Magazine, May 2001.
Fred Peck, a retired Marine colonel and
graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy,
served as senior spokesman for Operation
Restore Hope in Somolia.
********************
Tricare for Life
Mailout Begins
Administrators have started mailing
packages about the Tricare for Life
program that begins October 1 for
Medicare-eligible military retirees, spouses
and survivors.
Officials report that some recipients
thought the package was “junk mail,” and
tossed it out. Accordingly, redesign and
remailing has occurred in some instances.
The cover letter asks each potential
beneficiary to complete and return the
Beneficiary Information Update form
included in the package. Note: It is
important to complete Item 4b, which asks
if you intend to terminate other insurance.
TFL will be second payer to Medicare only
if TFL officials know that the beneficiary
has no other insurance.
Conversely, if supplementary insurance is retained without TFL’s knowledge,
double payments could occur, requiring an
eventual payback. Potential beneficiaries
7
who do not receive a package should check
their records in the Defense Enrollment
Eligibility Reporting System (next item).
************************
How to Correct
DEERS Data
Tricare for Life may not kick in for
beneficiaries if their DEERS information is
not current (previous item).
Individuals can update their address
records in any of the following ways:
Visit a Military Treatment Facility or
a local military personnel office that has an
ID card facility.
Call 1-800-538-9552. (In California
1-800-334-4162, and in Alaska or Hawaii
1-800-527-5602);
Fax changes to (831) 655-8317
Mail to DSO, Attn: COA, 400
Gigling Road, Seaside, CA 93955-6771.
E-mail [email protected]
and include the sponsor’s name and Social
Security number, name(s) of other family
members affected by the address change,
effective date of address information, and
telephone number, if available.
To change information other than
address data in DEERS, beneficiaries may
visit an ID card facility, or mail or fax
changes with documentation to the address
or fax numbers provided above. To learn
what documentation is required, contact
the nearest military ID card facility.
For more information on TRICARE
for Life, call 1-888-363-5433 or visit
http://www.tricare.osd.mil or:
**************************
8
Doctor’s Statement
Type-Il Diabetes Claims
A private doctor’s record is considered sufficient if it contains the following information:
Name: _________________________________________________________
SSN: ________________________________
DOB: ________________________________
Age at onset: ___________________________
Diagnostic test used: _________________________________________________________________________
Comment on treatment modalities such as insulin, diet, regulation of activities: __________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Discuss, if applicable, the prior and current episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions:
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Describe any complications that stem from the veteran’s diabetes such as amputations and vision,
vascular, renal or neurological problems:
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
( Doctor’s Signature & Date)