Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Posted September 24, 2008 3:42:56 PM
Veterans Issues - All veterans served but some veterans are more worthy than others, at least according to many members in congress.
What am I talking about you ask? Congress establishes periods of war and for a homeless and destitute veteran to receive any financial assistance from the VA; the veteran must have served during a recognized period of war.
If you served on active duty in the military between July 27, 1947 and June 26, 1950, your service in dismissed by congress.
If your service to our country was between February 1, 1955 and February 27, 1961, once more congress says your service didn't mean squat.
If you served on active duty in the military between May 8, 1975 and August 1, 1990, again congress says too bad, so sad, you didn't serve during a period of war and you're not eligible to the same benefits as other veterans.
All veterans raised their right hands and swore to defend and support the Constitution of the United States of America. And with that oath our veterans were willing to give our life, limbs or minds.
Why do I bring this up? Because from the end of WWII (August 15, 1945) through the collapse of the Soviet Union (February 7, 1990) was a period known as the Cold War, a war with real deaths, real members of the military Missing in Action (MIA), real Prisoners of War (POW) imprisoned in China and the USSR, and real service members killed in the line of duty (KIA). Yet members of congress refuse to recognize this period as a real war.
To this day, three residents from the state of Florida have never returned home from their military service and are listed by the Department of Defense as Missing In Action (MIA) during the Cold War, yet congress, both the house and senate ignore the sacrifices these men and women made for this country.
State City Name Service Rank Incident Date
FL DELAND SMITH, LLOYD Navy AD3 01/18/53
FL MIAMI MEYER, WILLIAM Navy AT2 11/6/51
FL TAMPA TAYLOR, PAT Air Force CAPT 09/10/56
These are three of the 165 name acknowledged by the Department of Defense as MIA during the Cold War.
Congress says, so what, it's only 3 from Florida and it's only 165 total, so what? Here's a quote from Congressman Adam Putnam of Polk County "- we should not count the Cold War as a war by the definition laid out in the Constitution."
Is there any wonder why congress has a historically low approval rating, even worse than the president?
Why do I bring this up? Because as a Veterans Claims Agent I see veterans who served honorably, just as honorably as all the other veterans but because they served on the boarders of the Warsaw Pact in Europe or on the DMZ in Korea or in Japan or elsewhere during those time periods noted above, congress is saying to these veterans, your service was in vain, all veterans are worthy of care and veterans benefits but some are more worthy than others. Kind of reminds me of George Orwell's Animal Farm, where all animals are created equal only some are more equal than others.
The Veterans of the Cold War deserve the same benefits as any other veteran. No one chooses when they are born or when they turn 18, but every veteran who served honorably chose to serve our country. Some now have illness, and injuries which makes them unable to acquire and maintain gainful employment. Some of these veterans are now homeless and destitute, but congress is tell these men and women, because you served between WWII and Korea, in between Korea and Vietnam, in between Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, your service is not worthy of a Non-Service Connected Pension, in other words, thank you for your blood, sweat, and tears, now hit the road. That's just wrong, but for the law to change it does require congress to act. It is up to congress to edit Title 38 of the United States Code and include the Cold War as a period of war. The fact that congress never "Declared" war on the USSR is irrelevant, congress never "declared" war on North Korea nor North Vietnam, yet the men and women who served during those time periods, and serving in Korea or Vietnam is not a requirement, still earn the same benefits as those of WWII and the Persian Gulf War era veterans do.
Two wars were declared, and two wars were not, but all veterans served. By the way, the Persian Gulf War era is from August 2, 1990 through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law. Neither the President nor Congress has yet to prescribe a specific date to when the Persian Gulf War era ends, so all veterans who served after August 2, 1990 to present are eligible for the same benefits denied to those who served during certain periods of the Cold War. Equal justice under the law my A--, all veterans deserve to be treated equally. Many missions happened during the Cold War, missions which are still classified and the public will not know for decades to come, but these missions were performed by the same men and women who now need the VA's help and the VA, with the approval of congress, turns a blind eye on these veterans.
How do we fix this issue, contact your congressperson and tell them to honor all veterans, the Cold War was a war, accept it and acknowledge the serve of the Cold War veterans by amending Title 38 of the United States Code.
P.S. for those who think this only applies to me, sorry, both my wife and I served not only during the Cold War but also during the Persian Gulf War era. This is for all of those veterans who fall through those huge cracks congress (both Republicans and Democrats) have left in VA Law.
Veterans Claims Agent
38 U.S.C. 5904
Posted by Gus Garcia