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Dro Or Traditional Appeal?


I filed a comp claim in August 2009 on basis of prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia which I believed to be associated with my duty while TDY 1962 to Tan Son Nhut & Don Muang while PCS at Kadena, Okinawa 1962-1963. I was denied Feb. 2011 because TDY orders were missing from my personnel file, not only for Vietnam and Thailand, but for other TDY assignments during my 8 years with U.S. Air Force. I suspect the classified nature of my Vietnam and Thailand TDYs had something to do with it, having to do with classifed RF-101 missions over Laos. However, the VA did award me a 10% rating in April 2011 for advanced cervical osteoarthritis related to a neck injury I received while working on aircraft in 1962 while at Kadena. I did file a NOD on the Feb. 2011 denial and just received a response to my NOD. The question now is whether to request a DRO or choose the Traditional Appeal Process. I'm inclined to simply select the Traditional Appeal Process because I do not believe a DRO is going to make a difference. I am also debating whether I should find a rep, perhaps from the DAV of which I am a member. I'm very familiar with the processing of disability claims from having spent over 30 years working for SSA before retiring and later spending 4 years working as a legal assistant for SSA administrative law judges. At the same time, I know a rep could help me prepare for a BVA hearing which I know could take a couple of years or longer, from what I've read. Any advice on these issues would be appreciated. I have until 12/11/11 to return the "Disagreement Resolution Election Form to the VA Regional Office handling my case. If I could find a copy of my TDY order to Tan Son Nhut, I would likely be approved because my hairy cell leukemia has been active since 2007 and I have significant residuals from the prostate cancer treatment in 2005.

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"If I could find a copy of my TDY order to Tan Son Nhut, I would likely be approved because my hairy cell leukemia has been active since 2007 and I have significant residuals from the prostate cancer treatment in 2005. "

Have you contacted JSRRC yourself?

Also I understand you can pay a nominal fee for a researcher's help at JSRRC.I posted info on that not long ago here at hadit.

DO you have your complete service personnel records? (except for the TDY data)

I forget but should know (my daugter is USAF vet) do you have something in your AF records like the SRB that USMC and USN has?

The SRB contains records of flights and destinations.

Have you tried to seek any buddy statements ?

If you could prove your MOS put you on or very close to the perimeters of any Base in Thailand that too could potentially garner a SC AO award.

Lots of info at hadit on awarded Thailand AO vets.

Personally I agree with you as the the DRO. I had a double DRO review in 2005. It was the same DRO for both of them and by time of second review she still didn't know how to read.

The BVA does. They awarded my claim.

Other claims I had were awarded at the RO level but if I ever get another denial I will probably skip the DRO denovo (I got a copy and paste de novo decision exactly like the prior one in 2005) and ask the Buffalo VARO to send the case to the BVA ASAP because the BVA can read.

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forgot to ask-were you in Vietnam long enough to get a Mil pay check there?

I assume there might be a way to track that info down.

The VA via JSRRC will declassify any records they need for VA claims purposes. My daughter's USAF MOS was classified and she was told this when she was discharged.

Also our former in house lawyer at hadit (now deceased) always made that point too.

Most of Vietnam data has already been declassified.I learned that when I did many thesis on Vietnam for AMU a few years ago.

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My daughter's USAF MOS was classified and she was told this when she was discharged.

Hi Berta! Thanks for all your help!

The Air Force does not have an MOS. They have what is called an Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC).

I was a Nuke guy, and not a Personnel guy. In my 10 years in the Air Force, I never heard of one single classified AFSC.

Many AFSC's use classified information & materials. When you are retired or discharged, the Air Force has a classified type of "gag order" that you have to sign. It doesn't say they will kill you if you talk, but the legal-ese wording sure seems to imply it!

I'm just sayin'.

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I was thinking the dro would be faster.. at the present time I have no evdience they are faster or are any better... my one year wait since my dro hearing starts december... it wil be then one year without a decision... so, as far as it being faster... no proof yet,,, the bva maybe slower but, if it is, it isn't much slower, and the decisions between the two might or might not be different... I was stupid and thought the dro would be fast and reasonable, so far, it's the same ole hurry up and wait, and hoping the can actually read...

whent he day comes, I will will have an opinion on which is faster and which can read, and which is a waste of time and effort..

I stilt hink it was worth trying the dro, at least it provided the opportunity to present my story,, up untilt he no one would let me see anyonein person and presetn anything... so at least a two year wait got me int he door to actually speak to alive person... just wish they were honest and told me it would take at least one year... or more.. instead they purposely decided to not say anything about timelines..... (which I find mean, especially when sick people are at the end of their ropes..).

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Asking for the DRO would be the wise choice; after all, you get one more opportunity for a good argument --before going to BVA. BVA's remand rate is so high --and many, if not most BVA appeals are remanded to the AMC which is a sand pit ... ~Wings

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