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SameOldSong

VA Health Benefits for Air National Guard from 1968 Federal Callup

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Usually the VA exasperates me on my own behalf. Today they are doing it on behalf of my Vietnam-era father.  

My Dad's Air National Guard unit was activated by Lyndon B. Johnson's Executive Order 11406 on April 7, 1968 at 10:15 pm activating just about all of the Army and Air National Guard units. Dad reported for duty and for the next 6 days patrolled Baltimore's city streets under martial law. On April 12, 1968, the order was released back to state control, and the Guard units were released.  

Now, the Army National Guard totally had it's paperwork shit together and issued DD 220 and Form 88 for every service member called up, which created DD 214's for these service members for the 6 days of active duty service.  The Air National Guard did not complete their paperwork and so Dad did not get a DD 214 for that service. 

Fast forward 51 years later. Dad is 80 years old. He heard from other National Guard folk that if he applies for VA Health Benefits, he will qualify because of his federal call up. This is based on 38 CFR 3.12a(a)(1) which defines the minimum period of service as:

  • 24 months of continuous active duty; or 
  • the full period for which a person is called or ordered to active duty

However, when he tried to apply, they turned him back because he does not have a DD 214 with active duty service (National Guard get ACDUTRA which is "Active Duty for Training" on an NGB 22 but his flight wing didn't do their paperwork after the riots to generate a DD 214).  Now, if his active duty service was listed on any paper, he'd have VA health benefits (such as they are, but prescription plans are useful). 

So, I went to work and contacted the National Archives and got the paltry records back on his service.  I had Mom & Dad contact the Maryland National Guard at the 5th Regiment Armory, and they very helpfully gave them a copy of Dad's USAF Reserve Personnel Record Card with his points on it which clearly has his points for those Federal call up days listed with a  No in the "Time Lost" column and a Title column with "10/8500" in it.  Title 10.  There's another entry later that year where the 15 days of training was registered as "32/503" in the Title column.  Title 32.  Pretty darn clear that at least the first one should have triggered a DD 214.  Probably the second also since the unit spent its time cleaning up burnt out areas of the city and boarding up buildings.

I also have the Order to Active Duty from the 5th Regiment Armory that activates all Army and Air National Guard for that timeframe.  In that order, most administrative paperwork is waived with the exception of morning reports, the subsistence of troops, DD Form 220 and Standard Form 88.  The Army did that paperwork.  The Air Guard, well, it's spotty at best but most of them don't have the DD 220 or Form 88.  Air National Guard also didn't issue DD 214's for anything less than 90 days of continuous service.  Dad has nothing but the copy of his points card with the Title 10 designation.

It's the difference between getting benefits and not. With that one call up, he was on Active Duty and not ACDUTRA. It's not VA Pension worthy, of course, but for VA Health Benefits, it's valid. On page 5 of the Summary of VA National Guard and Reserve Benefits that I've attached, it clearly says that serving the full period of active duty counts. His active duty was 6 days. It counts. 

Now, what paperwork will the VA accept for the determination?  They'll take the NGB 22 or the NGB 23 (points determination for retirement).  Dad's NGB 22 has no mention of the Title 10 stint. The NGB 23 was never created for him since he only completed 6 years of National Guard duty.  In a small paragraph buried in a 253 page booklet for separating National Guard/Reservist personnel, I found a note that states:

     "The Air Force Reserve provides a letter on active duty service from the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) that the VA Regional Offices accept in lieu of a DD 214."

I am stumped at this point how to get the Service Verification from the Air National Guard/Air Reserve Personnel Center.  The ARPC keeps telling me to leave voice mail and never contacts me (big shock. people are busy).  The Air Guard won't answer phones either.  All I need is a letter from them and we should have what we need to get past the gatekeepers.  

I'm not leaving Dad on this paper trail.  We're going to solve this.  But if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  

--SameOldSong

Former US Army, Currently rated at 30% disability but they keep disbelieving the broken bone in my neck on the x-rays

SummaryofVANationalGuardandReserve.pdf

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SameOldSong This is just throwing it against the wall but try this. What if you first try contacting your state Legislative Rep for your district; meet with him/her and explain. Ask him to contact the ARCP commanding officer,or Adjutant General, and ask them to issue the dd214 in light of the evidence you have. If that doesn't click, move it up to your Congressman or Senator. The problem with red tape is they don't have the wherwithall to do something that isn't cookie cutter. If you can convince the elected officials ,they CAN convince it is in the best interest to get it done. Before you do all of that, contact the State veterans Commissioner first. Long story short, I did and got benefits started for a veteran who never served 90 days. You get one piece and that sets up another piece.That might be a short cut. Remember, never give up. Never. If your right, keep finding a way. Good luck and keep us posted.

Edited by GBArmy
typo

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Thanks, GBArmy.

So, here's our update from today.  We did make some progress.

Today, I took a bundle of paperwork, Mom, Dad, and we went on a field trip to the Baltimore, MD VA Hospital to talk to the VA Benefits office.

Different experience with the USAF Reserve points card that clearly shows Dad's Title 10 service. The woman heading up all of the difficult claims called the VA Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta, GA and told the fellow on the phone about the points card.  He had her fax it over to him, and then told her that he needed the DD 214 or a set of travel orders to go with it.

Well, in 1968 during that call-up, they notified everyone to come in by putting out announcements on the radio and through the telephone tree.  There were no orders cut. They were all local anyway. So, we don't have orders specifically for Dad.  And we've already specified above that the DD 214 was never completed for most of the ANG.

But what I did have was a copy of the 1968 Maryland Order to Active Duty that brought everyone into Active status via the Executive Order 11406 signed by President Johnson. They really wanted to see both the 1968 Maryland Order to Active Duty, the Executive Order 11406, and the letter that the Brigadier General in charge of the MD National Guard sent to an army serviceman in 1968 that clarified that the pay for the 6 days of active service was paid by the Federal Government and 3 days of service before the active call was paid by the State.  Those and Dad's points card from the ANG.

The VA Benefits counselor in Atlanta, GA then said that he wanted his supervisor to make a decision on it. We don't have the typical paperwork, but it's clear that the Title 10 service happened and Dad was there.

So, they'll call us Monday with the details.  Once we know if it works or not, I'll post again. 

If it does work, the woman at the VA Benefits section at the hospital will know what paperwork our ANG guys need.  And why does this matter?

Well, this week, THREE ANG servicemen from 1968 came into the Baltimore hospital VA Benefits office and asked to register this week.  Three.  I told her that I think they likely were State of Maryland retired employees because the State of Maryland is trying to kick the retirees off of the pharmacy plan so many will look for other possibilities. All of us State of Maryland retirees got our benefits open enrollment paperwork last week. 

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More progress to report.  The VA Health Eligibility Office in Atlanta, GA has verified that Dad's 6 days of active duty service during the Federal call up for Baltimore in 1968 DOES count for VA Health Benefits.  However, they will not approve his application until they see his DD-214 for that service. No other document will do.

I have been told to file a Form 149 with the Board of Corrections. We had to file that form for Dad's Army Reserve DD-214 that had a typo on his SSN previously.  They replied that the time to correct an error was 18-24 months. 

I have also found on the Air Reserve Personnel Center page about the DD-214s:

https://www.arpc.afrc.af.mil/Services/DD-214s/Eligibility-and-e-Benefits-Info/

that there is a MISTAKE on the address for the Form 149. The address on the Form 149 is Randolph AFB, but they want the form actually sent to Andrews AFB.  This is a Hot Mess and while I'm filing it, I'm also going to put this in logical order and complain to every member of the House and Senate DoD Military Personnel subcommittees:

(from https://www.afpc.af.mil/Career-Management/Military-Personnel-Records/  )

AFBCMR applicants must fill out a DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Record. The DD Form 149 is currently going through the Office of the Secretary of Defense for an address change. The intake office on the back of the form has relocated from Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. To ensure your application is received and processed in a timely manner, mail the DD Form 149 to SAF/MRBC (AFBCMR), 3351 Celmers Lane, Joint Base Andrews NAF Washington, MD 20762-6435, along with any source documents, or send by email to usaf.pentagon.saf-mr.mbx.saf-mrbc@mail.mil. If your contention involves a medical issue, you must also fill out a consent form to release your medical records from the VA. You must fill out VA Form 10-5345, Request for and Authorization to Release Medical Records or Health Information, sign and attach it to the DD Form 149.

 

If the former Airman is deceased or incompetent, the surviving spouse, former spouse, next of kin or a legal representative may apply with supporting documentation (e.g., power of attorney, marriage license, death certificate) indicating they have proper legal standing to apply.

 

AFBCMR Resources: 

Air Force Pamphlet 36-2607, Applicant's Guide to the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records

Air Force Instruction 36-2603, Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records

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