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About vietnam_war_vet

  • Rank
    E-3 Seaman
  • Birthday 02/14/1949

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  • Location
    Las Cruces, NM
  • Interests
    Teaching aquatic therapy & exercise classes; perusing cyber blogs/forums; veterans/disabled veterans rights and programs; being with my loving Kathleen and our two spoiled English Mastiffs; traveling; natural hot springs soaking (helps my osteoarthritis); and staying informed/involved.<br /><br />I was an USAF radio operator. Two tours (69-70 & 72-73) with Task Force Alpha at Nankon Phanom AB, Thailand - with interdiction missions along the Ho Chi Minh in Laos. Awarded VSM, RVCR, and AFCM. <br /><br />I was AO exposed. Almost immediately developed chloracne. Then in 1995, type II diabetes. In 1990, the DVA placed me on their AO Registry. Since 1985, all 4 of my comp claims have been denied by DVA. I've had DAV SOs (twice) and congressional members (twice) shepherd my comp claims to no avail. Last denial was April this year.<br /><br />Attended Northern Arizona University. B.S. (1979) and M.A. (1984). Disability retired 1990 from postsecondary education. Kathleen is a professor of education.

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  1. While driving home from work last Tuesday afternoon, I noticed that I suddenly had blurred double vision. I also noticed a dull ache, a tightness on the temple side of my left eye. Once I was home, I looked in the bathroom mirror and checked for potential stroke indicators (facial drooping, uneven smile, etc), but as far as I could discern....nothing except for the blurred double vision. When my wife arrived home, she got out her otoscope and examined my eyes. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. Next morning, I awoke still with the blurred double vision and left temple dull ache/tightness, so I called my doctor and went in. She did a thorough diagnostic exam and then mentioned the "S" word (stroke) -- thinking that I may have had a minor stroke (a TIA). She made appointments for me with a neurologist and an eye doctor for the next morning and told me to go home, do nothing, and definitely not to work (I teach aquatic therapy & exercise classes in a 90 degree pool). Thursday morning, I went first to the neurologist for his exam. Then, I went to my eye doctor for his exam, and then back to the neurologist for a MRI and a MRA. By mid-afternoon, the neurologist, after reading my films, agreed with my eye doctor that I had had a minor TIA/occlusion to the 4th cranial nerve that had caused my left eye to no longer track in synch with my right eye on eye movements, causing the blurred double vision. The bad news: both doctors said that such an event is not unusual with DMII patients, especially if the diabetes has been around for awhile (I was diagnosed in 1994). They both explained that this was just one of the more common side effects of diabetes. The good news: due to my diligent treatment of my diabetes (I'm very compliant with medication, diet, and exercise), both doctors expect my complete recovery within 1 to 2 months - that the blurred double vision would cease. Both doctors also told me to continue my daily EC aspirin dosage (I've been doing so since 1996). More good news: the neurologist was pleasantly surprised that my MRI and MRA did not show the "usual" indications in my brain of long-term diabetes (he said that he expected to see small "spots" in my brain due to my having had diabetes since the early-to-mid 1990s). He informed me that my brain had zero such spots. I have to type with one eye closed. When I drive, I discovered that if I tuck my chin down on my chest and then look out straight ahead over the top of the steering wheel, my blurred double vision is minimized, almost eliminated. I'll definitely be glad when my healing/recovery is complete. -- Michael
  2. Randall, gracias for posting this. Now, should I dare allow my hopes to be raised again. I was an USAF radio op, served at Nankom Phanom (NKP) Air Base, did Ho Chi Minh trail interdiction missions inside of Laos, developed chloracne while I was still over there....diagnosed with DMII in the mid-90s (I'm insulin-dependent now)....went through the AO Registry exam in 1990 at the Boise VAMC and was officially placed on the DVA's AO Registry in August 1990....BUT every claim that I've submitted for chloracne and DMII has been denied.....the first denial (1985) and the most recent one (2004-05), the DVA said basically the same thing....NKP and Laos didn't count....no "boots-on-ground" within the borders of Vietnam means no AO SC claims....my VSM, RVCR be damned. I and so many others would really love to see this injustice negated. -- Michael
  3. Sorry, the first time I hit submit, I got one of those "this page cannot be displayed" screens. So, I hit back and then hit submit a second time. Oopsie....Michael
  4. Muchas gracias for sharing this, Time. Is anyone on hadit.com truly surprised by the contents of this transcript? Not if they're firmly grounded in reality and not blinded by delusional, corrupted, self-serving partisan politics. Just my humble opinion. I cringe ever time I see a news segment or read a news article where our national politicans routinely wrap themselves in our flag and proclaim how they "support our troops and veterans"....and then a review of their voting records disproves those claims - showing how they have either sponsored or condoned status quo or cutbacks to the VA's budget. A million backlogged claims at the VA expected by next year....Cafferty and his colleagues are so right....what a national disgrace!! -- Michael
  5. Amen, Berta! Excellent, accurate synopsis of the ongoing incompetence and malfeasance of the DVA/CAVC/VAROs, etc....and all with American tax dollars - plus costing veterans physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It's been this way for what seems like forever and I don't see any credible improvement/positive changes on the horizon. Instead with the current political dysfunctional morass in our country, I only see it getting even worse for us veterans and our families. -- Michael
  6. Yep, MyMissie - the DVA's beancounting shuffle...."deny, delay, deny, delay as more and more shuffled veterans die each day." That pathetic burial benefit is all the DVA will have to shell out for your VN Vet. That's their goal and has been and will remain to be the DVA's goal. I don't see it changing....not in my lifetime. -- Michael
  7. Last spring, I was rejected/denied for the 4th time by the DVA for my AO claim (I have chloracne and DMII diabetes). In 1990, the Boise VAMC took tissue samples from me during an AO screening and their doctors did find dioxin/AO in my fat tissue. I was then placed on the DVA's official Agent Orange registry, but in the same 1990 notification letter...the DVA refused to acknowledge or treat my chloracne -- even though the skin sores/lesions started during my second tour in 1972-73. The Boise VAMC doctors labeled it as a form of folliculitis (<--- spelling?) and not caused by AO exposure. I served at Nankon Phanom Air Base (NKP) in northeasternmost Thailand (across the Mekong River from Laos). As required on occasion per Task Force Alpha, I went on interdiction missions into Laos along the Ho Chi Minh trail. The HCM trail was frequently/heavily defoliated with AO, plus the perimeter of NKP was AO defoliated. I watched the C-123s spray and knew enlisted personnel on the flightline who loaded the AO onto those planes. At our commander's meetings, we "enlisted" were told it was pesticide that was being sprayed around the base perimeter for mosquito control. How stupid did our officers think we were? After those sprayings, the mosquitoes continued to thrive, while all the plantlife died. Back to my most recent denial: for this claim attempt - I had the DAV as my representative/service officer. The resulting DVA denial letter informed me that a review of my service records showed that I had not put "boots-on-the-ground" in-country Vietnam, therefore I was not eligible for my AO DMII claim or any other AO-related claim. My state DAV service officer then told me that I could appeal, but I would be wasting my time and everyone elses since I had not been within the borders of Vietnam proper. I did a Google search plus a search on this forum's search engine and really didn't get any definitive insight on this "boots-on-the-ground" in-country service policy requirement for AO comp claims. For my NKP/TFA tour, I was awarded the VSM, RVCR, and the AFCM. On the Yahoo AO "Spring-Into-Action" forum, one of the moderators told me that former DVA Secretary Principi was responsible to this "boots-on-the-ground" in-country Vietnam policy and it was done to eliminate AO-exposed veterans like myself who served in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand from qualifying for compensation claims....strictly a beancounting measure by Principi to reduce the number of compensated claims/awards. Is this true?? Any insight or feedback would be appreciated. -- Michael
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