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Finding In Country Medical Records


akwidow
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Question

In the process of making my claim, I have asked for in country Viet Nam service medical records for my late husband. I started with St Louis. Many times in fact, from every stage of my case which has been 1st denied, denied at BVA, appealed to COA, then remanded for readjudication and it is now at AMC. I have asked at every stage and VA has not produced. They have sent everything around the in-country records but not those for the time he spent in country in 1968, where he was overcome with CS and treated, then for treatment of the shrapnel wounds he received there.

Today I formally charged them with spoilation.

Have any of you out there been able to get these records from any other entity?

I could sure use some ideas...

Thanks, and hope this topic helps more than me -

Akwidow

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In the heat of battle in Vietnam often Corpsmen records got lost.

Corpsmen are trained to document injuries as well as they can.They would attach the record to many injured servicemen basically they same way thy often do now in Iraq-they duct tape them to the serviceman or woman's chest if the patient is moved from one MASH or medic station to somewhere else.

Since your husband was injured by schrapnel-did he receive the PH?

The PH is not always awarded for schrapnel wounds.

Scrapnel today can come from IEDs but in Vietnam it often almost always came from direct firepower or hits from the stuff they started to lay down on the roofs in Iraq so the weight would collapse the building.Gosh I forget what it is called-

If these incountry records you are seeking are not in his SMRs- they might never be found.

You could try to obtain buddy statements- contact his unit on the web-

was he USMC 1968- Amphibious tracker battalion-that is what my husband was in -Danang Vietnam-I found alot of his unit history on the web.

Also somewhere here under a search I posted the Marine Corps sites that have unit histories,etc and could possibly find mor info on the event that caused his scrapnel wounds-but a buddy statement would be better-

many units- all branches who were in Vietnam even have re-union lists and if he ever mentioned ny buddies he had it is possible to find them.

You would need an eye witness account of a buddy-from his same unit at same time and place- who saw him get treated for schrapnel wounds or who could help verify anything else you have claimed began in service.

That buddy statement along with a DD 149 application could get the PH onto his records as a DD 215.

Maybe he did it and I apologise if I forgot that you already mentioned that.

OH-I see USA in the profile - is that you or your husband-

he was most likely treated in a MASH Unit if he was USA.

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http://cbs5.com/local/Vietnam.medics.nurses.2.435010.html

just one of many sites as to a reunion of the men and women of a MASH Unit who served in Vietnam-

Perhaps he was treated by a nurse and not a corpsman- it is worth looking into if you need this info for his claim.

Vietnam veteran Nurses and corpmen also have sites.

( I meant mortar -laying down mortar on the roofs in Iraq-its weight was the destructive factor)

Edited by Berta
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Yes he was Army. He had a purple heart (Sept 1, 1968), I have a copy of the award. He has a combat Infantry Badge awarded Aug 9, 1968, which tells me he was engaged with the enemy in actual combat. He was in Co D, 1st Btn, 6th Inf, USARPAC-V. In one of his letters he tells of a story where he was incapacitated by tear gas to the point that he was placed in an oxygen tent for three days. He had multiple shrapnel episodes, one of which scarred his calf to the point that when I met him in 1992 I could see the gnarling of the scar and the mishapen shape of the anatomy.

I will continue to look online. Thanks for the link Berta. Maybe somebody here recognizes his unit, and can steer me somewhere?

http://cbs5.com/local/Vietnam.medics.nurses.2.435010.html

just one of many sites as to a reunion of the men and women of a MASH Unit who served in Vietnam-

Perhaps he was treated by a nurse and not a corpsman- it is worth looking into if you need this info for his claim.

Vietnam veteran Nurses and corpmen also have sites.

( I meant mortar -laying down mortar on the roofs in Iraq-its weight was the destructive factor)

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Can you tell us the exact unit info?

the whole 9 yards, like what company, brigade etc-

I dont speak Army too well but will try to google it all and see what I get-and others here will too I am sure-

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AKwidow,

1. His letter to you about the gas from when he was in country IS EVIDENCE. If the VA doesn't already have this in your claim, submit a copy of it via certified return receipt mail ASAP. Also, if he wrote anyone else and they have still have the letter, get a copy and send it as well. Ideally, having the original envelope to copy as well would be helpful. I read about a vet who had his claim denied because the VA said he was never injured in country - no battlefield med records to be found so it was just his word. Luckily his folks came up with a picture of him in a cast on crutches in front of a MASH tent in country. The VA awarded based on the picture in lieu of the records.

Now, having said that - the PH citation may have enough info in it to award but don't be surprised if the VA ignores evidence. They completely ignored a treatment report in my SMRs when they denied my claim the first time around.

2. Have you requested the incountry med records explicitly under the FOIA? To the VA's credit, in my case, when I got my c-file they sent all my SMRs, to include the treatment report they ignored that proved in service onset of symtoms so I am inclined to think Berta may be right that there simply aren't battlefield records for your husband.

3. What and how exactly did you "formally charged them with spoilation"? I don't know what this means or through what channels you were able to do so.

I hope this helps,

TS Snave

Edited by tssnave
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Yes, they have the letter. I'll ask old friends and family if they have any others. Thank you for that suggestion.

Yes I explicitly asked for in country SMR's from vietnam in 1968. I started that request in St. louis, and have kept it up at every level of the case.

Spoilation means purposely losing or destroying evidence in their care, like the shredding scandal that hit last October. The way I see it, there had to be some field hospital record about him being in an oxygen tent for three days. I can understand medics treating the shrapnel wounds in the jungle with no follow up care, but the back of his calf had a pretty large scar with gnarled muscle under it, so that one had to be pretty bad....

I put his company info in a lower post. Co D, 1st Btn, 6th Inf, USARPAC-V Americal

Don't company clerk records get kept anywhere? Wouldn't company clerk records reflect who is injured, who is killed, etc? His PH was first awarded for shrapnel in the hand Sept 1, 1968. I never heard any other PH awarded, even though he had other wounds all over his back side - can you get more than one PH?

Thanks for you time,

Akwidow

AKwidow,

1. His letter to you about the gas from when he was in country IS EVIDENCE. If the VA doesn't already have this in your claim, submit it via certified return receipt mail ASAP. Also, if he wrote anyone else and they have still have the letter, get a copy and send it as well. Ideally, having the original envelope to copy as well would be helpful. I read about a vet who had his claim denied because the VA said he was never injured in country - no battlefield med records to be found so it was just his word. Luckily his folks came up with a picture of him in a cast on crutches in front of a MASH tent in country. The VA awarded based on the picture in lieu of the records.

Now, having said that - the PH citation may have enough info in it to award but don't be surprised if the VA ignores evidence. They completely ignored a treatment report in my SMRs when they denied my claim the first time around.

2. Have you requested the incountry med records explicitly under the FOIA? To the VA's credit, in my case, when I got my c-file they sent all my SMRs, to include the treatment report they ignored that proved in service onset of symtoms so I am inclined to think Berta may be right that there simply aren't battlefield records for your husband.

3. What and how exactly did you "formally charged them with spoilation"? I don't know what this means or through what channels you were able to do so.

I hope this helps,

TS Snave

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