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Need Help With Research On Disability Claim



Good afternoon,

I have a cervical condition, severe arthritis, etc., on the left side of my neck. In jump school at Ft. Benning I was the first picked to do a plf off the 4' platform, caught my heel on the edge and landed on my neck and knees at the same time. My neck cracked twice when I hit but never reported it as I was so embarrassed and the Sergeant told me to get up and try again, which was successful this time. What I need is for someone that was there or knows of someone in the 4th Student Bn that began 12 Jan 1967 to contact me.

The other incident was when we were ambushed 21 May of 1969. I was hit with the blast of a claymore that killed my squad leader and then a grenade went off and get shrapnel in my legs. I believe there was more damage to my neck as the blast came from my right side, snapping my neck to the left. Once again, I never said anything or may have mentioned it to the doctor but nothing went on record. Neck has bothered me since that time and has progressively gotten worse. I should have started this inquiry long ago but time flies when you're 66. The VA doc said there's no way this is related to the Army even though it shows it is traumatic arthritis. I've never had any accidents and was a runner in high school.

What are my options in filing an FDC? Will they just throw it out or is there a snowball's chance? I have had an MRI and x-rays but need more than that.

Thanks a bunch and good luck.

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4th Student Bn

Was this at Fort Benning?

When did this accident occur?

Do you have copys of your complete SMRs and 201 personnel file ?

Do you still have the book they prepared inservice that includes who you trained with?

(like the BT book I bought when my daughter graduated from BT or maybe she bought it. I know I bought a BT video with every airman in her squadron in it. She was firing an M16 in the video at the range.

(she said Mom, the M 16 didnt fire right at first like dad said his M 16 misfired in Vietnam )

(I said yeah you probably trained on the same one he used in Nam.) :wacko:

Those faces and names in that book might ring a bell to google if you need a buddy statement?

"ambushed 21 May of 1969."

I assume, incountry Vietnam? Do you remember where this happened?

"a claymore that killed my squad leader and then a grenade went off and get shrapnel in my legs. "

What do you get the 40% for now?

The squad leader's name should be on the Wall.

The Wall is on line. However ,in DC and locally for the Moving Wall, we needed some buddy hometown info and approximate date of death, ( my husband always remembered the exact death dates) for them , the wall people, to show my husband where the panel was, so he could do a tracing of the names.

he sent that to VA to support his PTSD claim for higher rating but they never mentioned it as evidence. They did award 100% P & T SC for the PTSD.

Still, that can be important evidence of experiencing a stressor.

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Old letters? Is there a possibility that you might have written to any friends / family and mentioned your neck hurting in any of the incidents? Or even after that?

Couldn't jump school create situations that would impact someone's neck, even without documented injuries.

When did you first receive treatment for your neck?

The closer that was to your discharge, the better.

You also might want to have someone else look over your medical records to see if the catch something you are missing.

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Free Spirit said:

"You also might want to have someone else look over your medical records to see if the catch something you are missing."

That is good advise for any veteran, even if th4y don't have a claim pending.

i mentioned here how my daughter, while she was in the Mil, insisted I could find evidence in my husband's med recs of diabetes.

She had gone over a few of them. He had never been diagnosed of treated for DMII.

I put doing that off for many months. I felt my issues had been resolved.But she insisted every time she called me.

So in 2003 I filed a AO DMII claim. and succeeded in it.

Although it was a 1151 issue I filed instead for direct SC.

All of sudden lots of evidence appeared in the med recs, unlike the

evidence I had used for my past 1151 DIC claim..

She was RIGHT!

Family members and trusted friends often can see things we cannot see.in med recs as well as in VA decisions.

Edited by Berta (see edit history)
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While its true that VA "must give due consideration to lay evidence", and can not disregard it simply because you are an "interested party", it is still difficult to get VA to read it, as Berta has pointed out.

Remember this, tho. Whenever you go to the doctor, the doctor asks you questions..lots of them. Then your evidence goes into your medical records and he often makes his diagnosis, in part, by your statements. He is gonna say things like:

1. What happened?

2. How did you hurt your leg?

3. How far down did you jump?

4. How many times? etc, etc.

The problem, in your case, if you tell the doc that now, but not while you were in the military after it happened, this begs the question as to why you did not say something about this earlier? And that, is the problem, not so much lay evidence.

Chris Attig has pointed out that the VA must consider lay evidence, and they have to say why they dont regard it as credible, if that is the case. One way they do this: If VA caught you in a lie on one thing, then they can disregard other things you say as also not credible. So, tell the truth and dont get caught in a lie, above all else.

In my case, the BVA (paraphrasing) that they simply did not know if my hearing loss was caused in service, but, since all my other statments were consistent with the known facts, they deemed my evidence as credible.

You will likely have a big fight on your hands, but it is winnable. Tough, but winnable. Make sure you dont make mistakes like remembering dates wrong. In other words, if VA asks you when it happened, dont say one time, "Gee, I dont remember....I think it was 2002 or 2003." Then, you look up such and such a date and correct yourself in a future similar question. "It was the spring of 2004". While I personally think its reasonable to guess at the date then correct your guess later, the VA uses this as a tool to deem your evidence as not credible. Dont do it. Look up the date before hand and dont guess.

More importantly, read what Chris Attig, Veterans attorney has to say about lay evidence:


Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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In the military, your buddies and comrades will often pressure you into "sucking it up", and not reporting to sick bay. Im sure that saves the military billions of dollars because, as you found out, sometimes it makes your case very hard to prove.

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I think a lot of veterans never reported their injury while in Nam, (if not serious injury) I know I I'm guilty of not reporting some that was not all that bad, I remember early morning on incoming mortar rounds ( harassment ) we got used to it it happen so much, one night I was late getting to the bunker and caught some fragments in my right ankle...me and my buddies just clean the wound & got medical dressing/ointments from the unit medic (unofficially) and after a few days it was ok, but not only me lot of others did the same...knowing what I know now Hell yes I would have reported it.

still have a scare from it.

One time I was getting ready to go outside the perimeter and was checking the water in the radiator of the 2/1/2 ton truck (Duce &Half) I was up on the bumper and taking the cap off and then hot steam blew out right into my face I fell off the truck and the steam had blister my right side & part my face forhead.....I Never said anything about that I just Dr it myself buddies ask me what happen I told them what happen some said I should go see the medic...I said oh no I'll be alright its just a little scrape burn...I got over that but years later 30 or so years later I developed arthritis in my knees ...I ask my VA PCP if that could have caused my arthritis he said yes it could have!

so I got it SC....but no compensation...back in my Vietnam days I just never thought about injury's like these...we just took care of each other.


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Any Hearts, Stars or CIB from Nam? What is your 40% SC for? As for an FDC filing, slim & None. An FDC only stays an FDC as long as the Rating Dept doesn't think more Evidence (Medical or MSR) is required. If that happens your FDC becomes a Regular Axx Claim. What do you have to loose throw it up and see what sticks. Might get C & P faster, who knows.

You've already had some push back on the above mentioned contentions, right. If you your right, file the claim. With that said and not knowing what your current SCs are for, let's tlak Nam Vet. Your 66+/- and a Nam Combat Vet. Tinnitus 10%, any of the AO Presumptive s, PTSD, Sleep Apnea and probably a few I've missed. Have you been examined specifically for any of these conditions? Along with these are a host of Secondary SC Issues. If you don't suffer some sort of Sleep issues your a very luck Nam Vet.

Semper Fi


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Definitely need to get an independent medical examination and opinion. That will help carry the ball for you across the goal line.


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Thank you for all of your replies,

I was in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and at that time you were SUPPOSED to be tougher than anyone else. You didn't go to sick call when you were in the rear unless you were almost dead.

I don't believe there are any medical records as to my neck hurting as I had shrapnel in my legs from the ambush which is more than I wanted to deal with in the first place. Didn't know I had grenade shrapnel in my legs until after the adrenaline wore off and they medivaced my squad leader.

I was also on a 4.2 inch mortar when I first got to the rvn and later went to LRRP school at LZ English where all of this crap started. I'll file for tinnitus with the neck.

Anyway, I received an x-ray in 2009 at the VA and they found some severe arthritis, etc., on the left side of my cervical spine. Went to physical therapy at Long Beach VA and it did very little to help.

Thanks again for the replies and good luck.

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